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This report describes the design, development, and testing of the Health Care Safety Hotline, a prototype consumer reporting system for patient safety events. The prototype was designed and developed with ongoing review by a technical expert panel and feedback obtained during a public comment period. Two health care delivery organizations in one metropolitan area collaborated with the researchers to demonstrate and evaluate the system. The prototype was deployed and elicited information from patients, family members, and caregivers through a website or an 800 phone number. The reports were considered useful and had little overlap with information received by the health care organizations through their usual risk management, customer service, and patient safety monitoring systems. However, the frequency of reporting was lower than anticipated, suggesting that further refinements, including efforts to raise awareness by actively soliciting reports from subjects, might be necessary to substantially increase the volume of useful reports. It is possible that a single technology platform could be built to meet a variety of different patient safety objectives, but it may not be possible to achieve several objectives simultaneously through a single consumer reporting system while also establishing trust with patients, caregivers, and providers.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Hotline Design and Development

  • Chapter Three

    Hotline Implementation and Refinement

  • Chapter Four

    Evaluation Aims, Methods, and Results

  • Chapter Five

    Challenges Identified and Lessons Learned

  • Chapter Six

    Summary and Conclusions

The research described in this report was sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and conducted by RAND Health.

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