Patient-Reported Dental Safety Events: A South African Perspective

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Abstract

Objectives

In recent years, there has been an increase in research studies highlighting patients' experiences of adverse events (AEs) as well as the role of patients in promoting safety. The primary goal of the study was to assess the prevalence of dental AEs (DAEs) among dental patients in South Africa and its associated factors. The integration of the patient perspective into dental patient safety research will enhance our collective understanding of DAEs.

Methods

We conducted a cross-sectional study of adult patients at a large dental academic institution in South Africa from May to June 2015, evaluating their previous experiences of DAEs at any dental clinic in South Africa. Descriptive statistics and bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify the factors associated with an increased likelihood of experiencing a DAE.

Results

A total of 440 questionnaires were returned during the 6-week study period (response rate = 97.8%). Overall, 45.5% of participants reported experiencing one or more DAEs. Two hundred participants reported a total of 717 DAEs giving us a lifetime prevalence of 1.6 DAEs per respondent. Our results suggest that respondents who were younger (18–24 y), from high-income families (>R150,000 or US $9200), dissatisfied with their last dental visit and oral health had an increased likelihood of reporting a previous experience of a DAE.

Conclusions

This study provides an insight into the nature of information that can be gleaned from dental patients regarding safety and helps lay the foundation for patient involvement in patient safety reporting.

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