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Recording of adverse events in English general practice

An study published in the journal Informatics in Primary Care examined the recording of adverse events in English general practice. Although the majority of patient contact within the UK's National Health Service (NHS) occurs in primary care, relatively little is known about the safety of care in this setting compared to the safety of hospital care. This study aimed to identify the rate and types of adverse events that might be recorded in primary care through routinely collected data. Records from the calendar year 2007 were available for 69 682 registered patients from 25 practices, consisting of 680 866 consultations. A number of adverse events could be detected through terms contained in certain chapters of the Read code system. These events include injuries due to surgical and medical care (0.72 cases of per 1000 consultations) and adverse drug reactions (1.26 reactions per 1000 consultations). The findings suggested that there is scope to develop more accurate and reliable means of safety surveillance in general practice using data obtained from electronic patient records.

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