National_and_Institutional_Trends_in_Adverse.11 (2).pdf (1.01 MB)
Download file

National and institutional trends in adverse events over time: a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal retrospective patient record review studies

Download (1.01 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 02.12.2021, 11:24 authored by Warren Connolly, Brian Li, Ronan ConroyRonan Conroy, Anne HickeyAnne Hickey, David WilliamsDavid Williams, Natasha RafterNatasha Rafter

Objective: This study aimed to determine if the implementation of large-scale patient safety initiatives have been successful in reducing overall and preventable adverse event rates in hospital inpatients.

Design: The design used in this study was systematic review and meta-analysis.

Data resources: We followed our published protocol (PROSPERO [CRD42019140058]) and searched the following databases: PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library, and Embase from inception to February 2020. The reference lists of eligible studies were also searched.

Eligibility: All longitudinal retrospective record review studies that examined adverse event rates before and after the introduction of patient safety initiatives in hospital inpatients were included.

Data extraction: Data extraction, quality, and risk of bias assessment were carried out by 2 independent reviewers. Information on study design, setting, demographics, interventions, and safety outcome measures was extracted.

Results: A total of 3894 articles were screened, and 7 articles met the eligibility criteria for our systematic review with 5 of these providing sufficient information for inclusion in the meta-analysis. The degree of heterogeneity was high among studies. The meta-analysis demonstrated a minimal risk reduction in overall adverse event rates of 0.017 (95% confidence interval, 0.002-0.032) when the lower-quality studies were excluded, with one adverse event being prevented for every 59 hospital admissions.

Conclusions: These findings are significant when the large numbers of admissions to a hospital every year are considered. Given the low numbers of large-scale implementation studies, there is a need for more research on the effectiveness of patient safety initiatives to further assess the impact of such initiatives on adverse events.


Longitudinal profiling of adverse events in Irish hospitals and provision of a standardised assessment tool to the Irish healthcare system: the INAES-2 study | Funder: Health Research Board (Ireland) | Grant ID: APA-2016-1877

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland’s research summer school project



The original article is available at

Published Citation

Connolly W, Li B, Conroy R, Hickey A, Williams DJ, Rafter N. National and institutional trends in adverse events over time: a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal retrospective patient record review studies. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(2):141-148.

Publication Date

1 March 2021

PubMed ID



  • Data Science Centre
  • Health Psychology
  • Medicine
  • Public Health and Epidemiology

Research Area

  • Cancer
  • Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders
  • Health Professions Education
  • Vascular Biology
  • Population Health and Health Services


Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health)


  • Published Version (Version of Record)