Taking up national safety alerts to improve patient safety in hospitals: The perspective of healthcare quality and risk managers.

Pfeiffer, Yvonne; Schwappach, David (2016). Taking up national safety alerts to improve patient safety in hospitals: The perspective of healthcare quality and risk managers. Zeitschrift für Evidenz, Fortbildung und Qualität im Gesundheitswesen, 110-111, pp. 26-35. Elsevier 10.1016/j.zefq.2015.12.007

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National safety alert systems publish relevant information to improve patient safety in hospitals. However, the information has to be transformed into local action to have an effect on patient safety. We studied three research questions: How do Swiss healthcare quality and risk managers (qm/rm(1)) see their own role in learning from safety alerts issued by the Swiss national voluntary reporting and analysis system? What are their attitudes towards and evaluations of the alerts, and which types of improvement actions were fostered by the safety alerts?


A survey was developed and applied to Swiss healthcare risk and quality managers, with a response rate of 39 % (n=116). Descriptive statistics are presented.


The qm/rm disseminate and communicate with a broad variety of professional groups about the alerts. While most respondents felt that they should know the alerts and their contents, only a part of them felt responsible for driving organizational change based on the recommendations. However, most respondents used safety alerts to back up their own patient safety goals. The alerts were evaluated positively on various dimensions such as usefulness and were considered as standards of good practice by the majority of the respondents. A range of organizational responses was applied, with disseminating information being the most common. An active role is related to using safety alerts for backing up own patient safety goals.


To support an active role of qm/rm in their hospital's learning from safety alerts, appropriate organizational structures should be developed. Furthermore, they could be given special information or training to act as an information hub on the issues discussed in the alerts.

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








Doris Kopp Heim

Date Deposited:

25 Feb 2016 14:32

Last Modified:

24 Oct 2019 19:01

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Lernen aus nationalen Sicherheitshinweisen; National event reporting system; Nationales Ereignisberichtssystem; Risikomanagement; learning from national safety alerts risk management





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