Engaging consumers in safety and quality at Royal Adelaide hospital

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The objective of this study was to elicit barriers and enablers of safe, high-quality care as identified by consumers, and to position consumers as ‘possessors’ of valuable knowledge related to systems and practices (as they had experienced these directly) rather than the receivers of knowledge and information. The central aim was to develop recommendations for consumer input into quality improvement, generated from the analysis of narrative accounts of their experiences.


The four-phase methodology adopted for this project involved the development of quality improvement strategies as identified (phase one) and validated (phase two) by consumers through the conduct of discovery interviews with 30 consumers over the age of 18 years who had experienced an adverse event. Clinicians and quality managers were then provided with an opportunity to validate the strategies identified through participation in a focus group (phase three). All data collected through discovery interviews and focus groups were transcribed and entered into the Joanna Briggs Institute Qualitative Assessment and Review Manager for analysis. The final phase of the study involved integrating this process of consumer involvement and of identified improvement strategies into the quality improvement program of Royal Adelaide Hospital.


A total of 28 findings were entered into the Joanna Briggs Institute Qualitative Assessment and Review Manager for analysis. The process of meta-synthesis embodied in these programs involves the aggregation or synthesis of findings or conclusions. Six categories and four syntheses were derived through this process with key themes relating to assessment and prevention strategies, a necessity for improved education and communication, the hospital environment and the potential life impact that the experience of an adverse event may have.


Consumers identified a number of strategies that could contribute to improved safety and clinical outcomes in hospital and a reduction in adverse events. This current study provides a solid foundation upon which future research may be conducted.

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