If You Build a Health Care Safety Hotline, Will They Come?

May 25, 2016 | Strategic Insights for Health System


​A prototype consumer reporting system for patient safety was found to be desirable, feasible, and not disruptive to system operations, although the response rate was low, according to a pilot study conducted by the RAND Corporation, ECRI Institute, Tufts Medical Center, and Brigham and Women's Hospital with funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). In order to develop its prototype, known as the Health Care Safety Hotline, the team conducted an environmental scan of all 27 existing consumer reporting systems and gathered information from two focus groups. The prototype reporting system was in place for 17 months beginning in January, 2014, at two highly integrated healthcare organizations that had relationships with a patient safety organization (PSO). The team worked with the organizations to develop an outreach and marketing plan, which was studied along with the prototype's effectiveness. The study found that patients and family members used the hotline to report "meaningful clinical information about perceived errors and physical and emotional injuries," and much of the information gathered, the authors said, was previously unavailable. The hotline was also readily incorporated into existing patient safety systems and did not disrupt system operations, the study found. This is notable, the authors said, because some expressed concerns early on that bandwidth would be insufficient to appropriately respond to all concerns.

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