Exploring facilitators and barriers to medication error reporting among healthcare professionals in Qatar using the theoretical domains framework: A mixed-methods approach

Derek Stewart (Corresponding Author), Binny Thomas, Katie MacLure, Kerry Wilbur, Kyle Wilby, Abdulrouf Pallivalapila, Andrea Dijkstra, Cristin Ryan, Wessam El Kassem, Ahmed Awaisu, James S McLay, Rajvir Singh, Moza Al Hail

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BACKGROUND: There is a need for theory informed interventions to optimise medication reporting. This study aimed to quantify and explain behavioural determinants relating to error reporting of healthcare professionals in Qatar as a basis of developing interventions to optimise the effectiveness and efficiency of error reporting.

METHODS: A sequential explanatory mixed methods design comprising a cross-sectional survey followed by focus groups in Hamad Medical Corporation, Qatar. All doctors, nurses and pharmacists were invited to complete a questionnaire that included items of behavioural determinants derived from the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF), an integrative framework of 33 theories of behaviour change. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to identify components, with total component scores computed. Differences in total scores among demographic groupings were tested using Mann-Whitney U test (2 groups) or Kruskal-Wallis (>2 groups). Respondents expressing interest in focus group participation were sampled purposively, and discussions based on survey findings using the TDF to provide further insight to survey findings. Ethical approval was received from Hamad Medical Corporation, Robert Gordon University, and Qatar University.

RESULTS: One thousand, six hundred and four questionnaires were received (67.9% nurses, 13.3% doctors, 12.9% pharmacists). Questionnaire items clustered into six components of: knowledge and skills related to error reporting; feedback and support; action and impact; motivation; effort; and emotions. There were statistically significant higher scores in relation to age (older more positive, p<0.001), experience as a healthcare professional (more experienced most positive apart from those with the highest level of experience, p<0.001), and profession (pharmacists most positive, p<0.05). Fifty-four healthcare professionals from different disciplines participated in the focus groups. Themes mapped to nine of fourteen TDF domains. In terms of emotions, the themes that emerged as barriers to error reporting were: fear and worry on submitting a report; that submitting was likely to lead to further investigation that could impact performance evaluation and career progression; concerns over the impact on working relationships; and the potential lack of confidentiality.

CONCLUSIONS: This study has quantified and explained key facilitators and barriers of medication error reporting. Barriers appeared to be largely centred on issues relating to emotions and related beliefs of consequences. Quantitative results demonstrated that while these were issues for all healthcare professionals, those younger and less experienced were most concerned. Qualitative findings highlighted particular concerns relating to these emotional aspects. These results can be used to develop theoretically informed interventions with the aims of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the medication reporting systems impacting patient safety.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0204987
JournalPloS ONE
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by the Qatar National Research Fund, NPRP-7-388-3-095.


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