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BMC Health Services Research

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Patient safety, Simulated patients, Psychology -- Qualitative research


Background: Research in patient safety is an important area of health services research and is a national priority. It is challenging to investigate rare occurrences, explore potential causes, and account for the complex, dynamic context of healthcare - yet all are required in patient safety research. Simulation technologies have become widely accepted as education and clinical tools, but have yet to become a standard tool for research.

Methods: We developed a framework for research that integrates accepted patient safety models with mixed- methods research approaches and describe the performance of the framework in a working example of a large National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded R01 investigation.

Results: This worked example of a framework in action, identifies the strengths and limitations of qualitative and quantitative research approaches commonly used in health services research. Each approach builds essential layers of knowledge. We describe how the use of simulation ties these layers of knowledge together and adds new and unique dimensions of knowledge.

Conclusions: A mixed-methods research approach that includes simulation provides a broad multi-dimensional approach to health services and patient safety research.

Keywords: Health services research, Patient safety, Research design, Patient simulation, Mixed methods, Qualitative research, Pediatrics, Emergency care, National Institutes of Health


© The Author(s). 2017 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.



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