Differences in recording of adverse events between general practitioners

Dutch general practitioners vary in the way they record adverse medication events. This findingwas recently published in BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making. Nivel researcher Sabine de Hoon and colleagues based this conclusion on electronic health records data from 308 general practices participating in the NIVEL Primary Care Database. More uniform recording of adverse events may improve patient safety. 

The study showed that general practitioners (GPs) see an average of 7 per 1000 patients for adverse events per year. Women, older patients and patients who use more medicines concurrently are overrepresented. GPs vary in how they record adverse events. Some practices record twice as many adverse events as others, also when corrected for characteristics of the patients listed in the practice. 

GPs have different options to record adverse events in medical records. In this study only ‘coded’ information on adverse events was included. However, GPs may also use free text or record so-called intolerances. Adverse events are related to lower therapy adherence and impaired quality of life. Therefore, it is important to enhance uniform recording of adverse events. Feedback information on recording behavior of GPs, in which the GPs recording of adverse events is compared to that of peers, may be a first step. 

De Hoon, S.E.M., et al. Adverse events recording in electronic health record systems in primary care. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2017; 17:163. 

Karin Hek