Family Input Improves Hospital Safety Surveillance Interview with:

Alisa Khan, MD, MPH Staff Physician Instructor in Pediatrics Boston Children's Hospital

Dr. Khan

Alisa Khan, MD, MPH
Staff Physician
Instructor in Pediatrics
Boston Children’s Hospital What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: ​Medical errors are known to be a leading cause of death in the United States. However, the true rate at which errors and adverse events occur in medicine is believed to be even higher than what has been found through the most rigorous patient safety studies.

Families are typically excluded from safety surveillance efforts, both in research and operationally in hospitals. We found that including families in safety reporting at four pediatric hospitals led to significantly higher error/adverse event detection rates, compared to the safety surveillance methodology typically considered most rigorous and highest yield in safety research. In addition, families reported errors/adverse events at similar rates as providers and at several-fold higher rates than the hospital incident reports which typically form the basis of operational hospital safety surveillance. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Families offer valuable patient safety information and should be included as partners in safety surveillance efforts by both researchers and hospitals. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Given that family reporting in our study led to significant increases in overall error and adverse (AE) event rates, we believe future research involving the measurement of error and AE rates should include family reporting to increase detection. Additionally, we believe future research should investigate and compare different methods of family error reporting and how best to operationalize the inclusion of families in hospital safety surveillance efforts.

No disclosures. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Khan A, Coffey M, Litterer KP, Baird JD, Furtak SL, Garcia BM, Ashland MA, Calaman S, Kuzma NC, O’Toole JK, Patel A, Rosenbluth G, Destino LA, Everhart JL, Good BP, Hepps JH, Dalal AK, Lipsitz SR, Yoon CS, Zigmont KR, Srivastava R, Starmer AJ, Sectish TC, Spector ND, West DC, Landrigan CP, and the Patient and Family Centered I-PASS Study Group. Families as Partners in Hospital Error and Adverse Event Surveillance. JAMA Pediatr. Published online February 27, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.4812

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

More Medical Research Interviews on

[wysija_form id=”5″]




Last Updated on March 1, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD