[Patient perspectives on patient safety: Results of a population-based survey in Germany].

Müller, Angelina; Sawicki, Olga A; Müller, Hardy; Schwappach, David; Wendt, Peter; Ploeger, Cornelia; Brückle, Maria-Sophie; Müller, Beate S (2021). [Patient perspectives on patient safety: Results of a population-based survey in Germany]. Zeitschrift für Evidenz, Fortbildung und Qualität im Gesundheitswesen, 165, pp. 13-20. Elsevier, Urban & Fischer 10.1016/j.zefq.2021.07.004

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The growing number of people with multimorbidity and polypharmacy in Germany has led to increasing complexity in health care and risks to patient safety. A high priority should therefore be placed on identifying and preventing avoidable adverse events. The patient perspective plays an important role in improving patient safety. In this study, we conducted a representative, population-based survey of knowledge, perceptions and experiences of patient safety, especially of subjectively experienced errors in health care. Our aim was in particular to assess patient safety from the patients' point of view, and to analyze differences in assessments of risk and preventability between persons that felt well or poorly informed about patient safety topics.


In 2019, computer-assisted telephone interviews were conducted nationwide as part of the "TK-Monitor Patient Safety" project. Recruitment was carried out by using multistage selection and forming a stratified random sample. Adults (18 years and older) with sufficient knowledge of German were included. The survey was conducted using a structured guideline containing 21 questions concerning perceptions and experiences of patient safety, and 12 questions on sociodemographic factors. The results were analyzed both descriptively and using inferential statistical methods.


Of a total of 1,000 respondents (51% female), approx. half (52%) were gainfully employed, and 57% rated their state of health as "very good" or "good". The patients regarded data protection, medication errors, hospital infections and diagnostic (un)certainty as of major relevance to patient safety. Overall, 55% of the respondents rated their knowledge of patient safety as "very good" or "good". The results showed that subjective knowledge was negatively associated with important outcome parameters such as having experience of medication errors or suspecting errors had been made in a medical examination or treatment. Patients that considered themselves well-informed also reckoned they could contribute towards increasing safety in health care.


The respondents considered diagnostic uncertainty to be one of the greatest risks to their person. This shows that they recognized a need for further information and felt this need was inadequately satisfied in the German research landscape. With regard to the correlation between subjective knowledge and outcome parameters, it is also necessary to analyze whether the respondents' subjective knowledge reflects their actual knowledge, as this would be necessary for preventive measures to be effective. This question will be the subject of further studies.


The patient perspective is an important addition to the study of the safety of medical care in Germany. Factors influencing subjective knowledge should be investigated. Furthermore, regular surveys would be desirable in order to gain greater insight into the topic.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Schwappach, David


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services




Elsevier, Urban & Fischer




Doris Kopp Heim

Date Deposited:

30 Aug 2021 16:12

Last Modified:

11 Oct 2021 01:33

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Adverse events Fehler Interview PREM PROM Patient perspective Patient safety Patientensicherheit Patientensicht





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