Published: 21-02-2020 14:58 | Updated: 21-02-2020 15:05

New thesis about patient safety in primary and emergency care

Hi Rita Fernholm, PhD-student at the Division of Family Medicine and Primary care. On March 9 you will defend your thesis ”Patient safety in primary and emergency care”, what's the main focus of the thesis?

Portrait of Rita Fernholm, PhD-student at NVS
Rita Fernholm, PhD-student at NVS. Photo: Annika Clemes

The main focus is patient safety in primary and emergency care. The thesis explores in particular diagnostic errors and risk factors for harm. It also explores the perspective of patients and health care professionals regarding the importance of different risks and possible ways to mitigate those risks.

Which are the most important results? 

Diagnostic error is the most common type of serious preventable harm in primary and emergency care. The diagnoses involved in diagnostic errors are mostly cancer in primary health care and fractures in emergency care. Patients with psychiatric disease have a higher risk for harm. Patients and health care professionals think that improved continuity of care and improved communication, like safety-netting strategies, can lower the risk for harm.

How can this new knowledge contribute to the improvement of people’s health? 

With higher continuity of care and strategies for safety-netting fewer patients might experience harm in health care.

What's in the future for you? Will you keep on conducting research? 

During 2020 and onward I am involved in research to strengthen patient safety strategies in primary and emergency care in the Region Stockholm.