October 23, 2019

ECRI Institute: Diagnostic testing, medication events pose biggest safety risks to ambulatory care patients

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

New research from the ECRI Institute finds that diagnostic tests and medication events are the most frequent safety risks patients face in ambulatory care.

ECRI Institute’s “Deep Dive: Safe Ambulatory Care, Strategies for Patient Safety & Risk Reduction” identifies solutions for five types of safety challenges in ambulatory care.


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In an analysis of 4,355 adverse events reported to the ECRI Institute by physician practices, ambulatory care centers, and community health centers between 2017 and 2018:

  • nearly half involved diagnostic testing errors
  • a quarter involved medication safety
  • the rest involved falls, security and safety, and privacy-related risks.

As healthcare delivery shifts from hospitals to ambulatory care settings, reducing and eliminating adverse events in the outpatient setting will require collaboration and coordination, ECRI Institute says.

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