Objective: There is growing recognition among health care providers and policy makers that when things go wrong, the patient or their families should be heard and participate in the incident investigation process. This paper explores how Dutch hospitals organize patient or family engagement in incident investigations, maps out incident investigators’ experiences of involving patients or their families in incident investigations and identifies the challenges encountered. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with managers and incident investigators in 13 Dutch hospitals. Study participants (n = 18) were asked about the incident investigation routines and their experiences of involving affected patients or family members. Interview transcripts were coded and analysed using thematic content analysis. Results: Our findings reveal that patient or family involvement in incident investigations is typically organized as a one-time interview event. Interviews with patients or their families were considered to be valuable and important in their own right and seen as a way to do justice to the individual needs of the patient or their family. Yet, the usefulness and validity of the patient or family perspective for incident investigations was often seen to be limited, with the professional perspective afforded more weight. This was particularly the case when the patient or their family were unable to provide verifiable details of the incident under investigation. Study participants described challenges when involving patients or family members, including in relation to the available timeframe for incident investigations, legal issues, managing trust and working with intense emotions. Conclusions: We propose that by placing patient and family criteria of significance at the centre of incident investigations (i.e. an ‘emic’ research approach), hospitals may be able to expand their learning potential and improve patient-centeredness following an incident.

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doi.org/10.1177/1355819618788586, hdl.handle.net/1765/109476
Journal of Health Services Research & Policy
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Kok, J. (Josje), Leistikow, I. (Ian), & Bal, R. (2018). Patient and family engagement in incident investigations: exploring hospital manager and incident investigators’ experiences and challenges. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy. doi:10.1177/1355819618788586