Evaluation of system mapping approaches in identifying patient safety risks

Mecit Can Emre Simsekler, James R. Ward, P. John Clarkson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    29 Scopus citations


    Objective: While many system mapping approaches (SMAs) have been broadly used in safetycritical industries, few have so far been employed in the healthcare field to assist in the identification of patient safety risks. In this study, we evaluated a set of system modelling approaches to assess their potential contribution to the identification of risks affecting patient safety. The aim was to gain a greater understanding of the practical application of system modelling approaches with the help of the risk categorization framework developed in this study. Setting: We conducted this study in a newly established Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) service at Cambridge and Peterborough Foundation Trust. Study participants: Eight key stakeholders of the chosen service, including clinicians, managers and administrative staff, were individually asked to evaluate a set of pre-defined six SMAs according to their usefulness in identifying patient safety risks through interview-based questionnaires. Results: It was found that each SMA could be useful in the chosen healthcare service in different ways. Further, specific types of diagrams were selected by stakeholders as more useful than others in identifying different sources of risks within the given system. Conclusions: The results of the evaluation showed that the system diagram is the most useful SMA in risk identification within the given system, while limited time, resources and experience of stakeholders with SMAs may present possible obstacles for their potential use in the healthcare field in future.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)227-233
    Number of pages7
    JournalInternational Journal for Quality in Health Care
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - 1 Apr 2018


    • Patient safety
    • Process maps
    • Risk identification
    • System mapping approaches


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