Background: Studies have shown that 4% of hospitalized patients suffer from an adverse event caused by the medical treatment administered. Some institutions have created systems to encourage medical workers to report these adverse events. However, these systems often prove to be inadequate and/or ineffective for reviewing the data collected and improving the outcomes in patient safety. Objective: To describe the Web-application Duke Surgery Patient Safety, designed for the anonymous reporting of adverse and near-miss events as well as scheduled reporting to surgeons and hospital administration. Software architecture: DSPS was developed primarily using Java language running on a Tomcat server and with MySQL database as its backend. Results: Formal and field usability tests were used to aid in development of DSPS. Extensive experience with DSPS at our institution indicate that DSPS is easy to learn and use, has good speed, provides needed functionality, and is well received by both adverse-event reporters and administrators. Discussion: This is the first description of an open-source application for reporting patient safety, which allows the distribution of the application to other institutions in addition for its ability to adapt to the needs of different departments. DSPS provides a mechanism for anonymous reporting of adverse events and helps to administer Patient Safety initiatives. Conclusion: The modifiable framework of DSPS allows adherence to evolving national data standards. The open-source design of DSPS permits surgical departments with existing reporting mechanisms to integrate them with DSPS. The DSPS application is distributed under the GNU General Public License.
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