Comparing the Safety Action Feedback and Engagement (SAFE) Loop with an established incident reporting system: Study protocol for a pragmatic cluster randomized controlled trial

Carl T. Berdahl*, Andrew J. Henreid, Tara N. Cohen, Bernice L. Coleman, Edward G. Seferian, Donna Leang, Sungjin Kim, Marcio A. Diniz, Matthew Grissinger, Karen Kaiser, Sara McCleskey, Xi Zhu, Teryl K. Nuckols

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Incident reporting is widely used in hospitals to improve patient safety, but current reporting systems do not function optimally. The utility of incident reports is limited because hospital staff may not know what to report, may fear retaliation, and may doubt whether administrators will review reports and respond effectively. Methods: This is a clustered randomized controlled trial of the Safety Action Feedback and Engagement (SAFE) Loop, an intervention designed to transform hospital incident reporting systems into effective tools for improving patient safety. The SAFE Loop has six key attributes: obtaining nurses' input about which safety problems to prioritize on their unit; focusing on learning about selected high-priority events; training nurses to write more informative event reports; prompting nurses to report high-priority events; integrating information about events from multiple sources; and providing feedback to nurses on findings and mitigation plans. The study will focus on medication errors and randomize 20 nursing units at a large academic/community hospital in Los Angeles. Outcomes include: (1) incident reporting practices (rates of high-priority reports, contributing factors described in reports), (2) nurses' attitudes toward incident reporting, and (3) rates of high-priority events. Quantitative analyses will compare changes in outcomes pre- and post-implementation between the intervention and control nursing units, and qualitative analyses will explore nurses’ experiences with implementation. Conclusion: If effective, SAFE Loop will have several benefits: increasing nurses’ engagement with reporting, producing more informative reports, enabling safety leaders to understand problems, designing system-based solutions more effectively, and lowering rates of high-priority patient safety events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101192
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials Communications
Volume35
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2023

Keywords

  • Hospital incident reporting
  • Human factors engineering
  • Medical errors
  • Nursing care
  • Patient safety
  • Randomized controlled trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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