Barriers to Safety Event Reporting in an Academic Radiology Department: Authority Gradients and Other Human Factors.
Radiology. 2018 Sep;288(3):693-698. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2018171625. Epub 2018 May 15.
Siewert B1, Swedeen S1, Brook OR1, Eisenberg RL1, Hochman M1.
PURPOSE To investigate barriers to reporting safety concerns in an academic radiology department and to evaluate the role of human factors, including authority gradients, as potential barriers to safety concern reporting.
MATERIALS AND METHODS In this institutional review board-approved, HIPAA-compliant retrospective study, an online questionnaire link was emailed four times to all radiology department staff members (n = 648) at a tertiary care institution. Survey questions included frequency of speaking up about safety concerns, perceived barriers to speaking up, and the annual number of safety concerns that respondents were unsuccessful in reporting. Respondents' sex, role in the department, and length of employment were recorded. Statistical analysis was performed with the Fisher exact test.
RESULTS The survey was completed by 363 of the 648 employees (56%). Of those 363 employees, 182 (50%) reported always speaking up about safety concerns, 134 (37%) reported speaking up most of the time, 36 (10%) reported speaking up sometimes, seven (2%) reported rarely speaking up, and four (1%) reported never speaking up. Thus, 50% of employees spoke up about safety concerns less than 100% of the time. The most frequently reported barriers to speaking up included high reporting threshold (69%), reluctance to challenge someone in authority (67%), fear of disrespect (53%), and lack of listening (52%).
CONCLUSION Of employees in a large academic radiology department, 50% do not attain 100% reporting of safety events. The most common human barriers to speaking up are high reporting threshold, reluctance to challenge authority, fear of disrespect, and lack of listening, which suggests that existing authority gradients interfere with full reporting of safety concerns.