Assessing adverse events in Madeira primary health care

Marta Dora Ornelas, Paulo Sousa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


In last three decades, several epidemiological studies have been developed in order to assess the magnitude, nature and type of adverse events (AEs). Most of these studies focus on hospital settings, where the activities are more standardised, but simultaneously more complex and involving higher risks. However, in the last years, there is a growing movement and strong evidence that point out the importance of studying other healthcare contexts, such as primary care and long-term care. In Portugal, studies on primary care setting are scarce and still in the early stages. In this article, the authors describe the AEs assessment in Portuguese Primary Health Care (PHC) units in Madeira Island/Portugal. This study was quantitative, cross-sectional, observational and analytical, with probability sampling. We quantify and analyse the AEs registered by healthcare providers using the APEAS-PT formulary. A link to the APEAS–PT form was sent to 520 healthcare professionals (111 specialist in Family Medicine, 27 medical students, 382 nurses) who worked in 32 PHC centres. These professionals identified and analysed 85 AEs and 42 incidents, which corresponds to a prevalence of 3.9 AEs per 10,000 visits, with a 95% confidence interval (CI) between 3.7 and 4 AE. Most of the AEs were preventable (96%). The most frequent causal factors of AEs were associated with medication (69%), health care provided to users (54%), communication (41%) and diagnosis (22%). This analysis of AEs in Madeira island PHC contributed to reinforce patient safety culture and to better understand quaternary prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHealth and social care systems of the future
Subtitle of host publicationdemographic changes, digital age and human factors: proceedings of the Healthcare Ergonomics and Patient Safety, HEPS 2019
EditorsTeresa Patrone Cotrim, Florentino Serranheira, Paulo Sousa, Sue Hignett, Sara Albolino, Riccardo Tartaglia
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9783030240660
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019
EventInternational Conference on Healthcare Ergonomics and Patient Safety, HEPS 2019 - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 3 Jul 20195 Jul 2019

Publication series

NameAdvances in Intelligent Systems and Computing
ISSN (Print)2194-5357


ConferenceInternational Conference on Healthcare Ergonomics and Patient Safety, HEPS 2019


  • Adverse events
  • Patient safety
  • Primary Health Care


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