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Keep up to date with the latest news, research and activity in patient safety


NIH grant to study unstructured data that can improve patient safety

Reports that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the US have led the Institute of Medicine and several state legislatures to suggest that data from patient safety event reporting systems could help health care providers better understand safety hazards and, ultimately, improve patient care.

"Tens of thousands of these safety report databases provide a free text field that does not constrain the reporter to fixed, predefined categories," said Srijan Sengupta, Assistant Professor of Statistics in the College of Science and a faculty member at the Discovery Analytics Center.

Sengupta has received an $815,218 Research Project Grant (R01) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop novel statistical methods to analyze such unstructured data in safety reports.

"Detailed information that spans multiple categories can be more valuable than identifying an event by just checking off a category," he said.

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Source: EurekAlert, 13 November 2019

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Little evidence that locum GPs pose greater risk to patient safety, study finds

Existing claims that locum GPs present a greater risk of harming patients are unfounded, according to new research published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. It found that there is little evidence that locum doctors, including GPs, have a 'detrimental' impact on patient care delivery.

Researchers from the University of Manchester looked at 42 international papers, including 24 from the UK, on the impact of locum doctors working in various healthcare settings to determine whether this group is more likely to harm patients than permanent doctors. 

Previous reports highlight longstanding and growing concerns about the quality, safety and cost of locum doctors among a range of stakeholders such as policymakers, employers, regulators and professional bodies. These include locum GPs being less aware of local policies and less familiar with the patient's healthcare history and lacking commitment. 

However, the researchers found there is 'very limited evidence' to support claims that these healthcare professionals deliver lower quality of care than their permanent counterparts. 

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Source: Pulse, 12 November 2019

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