Patient Safety in Hospitals: What We Do and What We Need—Focus Groups With Stakeholders of Hospitals in Southern Germany

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To provide the basis for designing an interprofessional patient safety training for medical treatment teams, the current situation regarding patient safety and existing training programs in southern German hospitals should be explored. Moreover, need-based content regarding the subject areas teamwork, safety culture, and patient involvement should be derived, a conducive learning format suggested, and wishes and concerns regarding the training explored.


Qualitative design (focus groups) in five hospitals with different levels of care involving a total of 39 members of interprofessional teams, administration, and quality management team. Structured contents analysis was used for evaluation.


The need for training to improve patient safety was highlighted. Related contents regarding the subject areas were derived: teamwork (team-building exercises, interprofessional teamwork, interprofessional communication), safety culture (dealing with criticism, appraisals, open handling of errors/proactive error reporting), and patient involvement (inclusion of patients and/or relatives, question types). The combination of e-learning and interprofessional in-person training was emphasized as a conducive learning format. The desire for practical tips, Continuing Medical Education credits, and intuitive review of theories was expressed.


The study initially presents the current situation regarding patient safety, existing training, teamwork, safety culture, and patient involvement in southern German hospitals and gives recommendations for related content and learning format. Based on our results, we recommend to develop a combination of e-learning and interprofessional in-person training. This training should systematically link all three subject areas and address the derived content from the focus groups to improve patient safety.

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