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The Association Between Cognitive Medical Errors and Their Contributing Organizational and Individual Factors

Authors Alyahya MS, Hijazi HH, Alolayyan MN, Ajayneh FJ, Khader YS, Al-Sheyab NA

Received 20 November 2020

Accepted for publication 18 January 2021

Published 3 February 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 415—430


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Marco Carotenuto

Mohammad S Alyahya,1 Heba H Hijazi,1 Main Naser Alolayyan,1 Farah Jehad Ajayneh,1 Yousef S Khader,2 Nihaya A Al-Sheyab3

1Department of Health Management and Policy, Faculty of Medicine, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, 22110, Jordan; 2Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Jordan University of Science & Technology, Irbid, 22110, Jordan; 3Allied Medical Sciences Department, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, Department of Maternal and Child Health Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, 22110, Jordan

Correspondence: Mohammad S Alyahya
Department of Health Management and Policy, Faculty of Medicine, Jordan University of Science and Technology, P.O. Box: 3030, Irbid, 22110, Jordan
Tel +962 2-7201000 Ext: 23690

Background: Examining cognitive medical errors (MEs) and their contributing factors is vital in health systems research, as it provides baseline data that can be used to develop appropriate interventions to prevent and/or minimize errors. The primary aim of this study was to investigate the association between cognitive MEs and hospitals’ organizational factors and the individual psychological and functional factors.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in three main hospitals in Northern Jordan. A proportional sampling technique was employed to decide the number of participants from each hospital. Data from physicians and nurses (n=400) were collected using a self-administered questionnaire, which was developed based on pertinent literature review. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted to validate the study instrument. The relationships between the variables were analyzed through structural equation modeling (SEM) using AMOS. Multi-group analysis was also performed to examine the differences in the participants’ perceptions towards the respective variables between the three selected hospitals.
Results: Our results showed a non-significant negative association between MEs and hospital organizational factors. Also, the SEM analysis showed a positive significant correlation between MEs and psychological and functional factors, whereby excessive workload, complexity of tasks, stress, sleep deprivation, and fatigue were found to be predictors of MEs occurrence. In comparison to the results from the university hospital, the multi-group analysis results from the governmental public hospital and the private hospital showed a significant impact of psychological and functional factors on MEs.
Conclusion: To reduce the occurrence of MEs in hospitals, there is a need to enhance organizational safety culture. Efforts should be directed at both organizational and individual levels. Also, it is essential that health decision makers develop strategies to reduce work-related stress and improve healthcare staff well-being, as work stress may cause cognitive impairments among healthcare workers and hence threaten patients’ safety.

Keywords: organizational culture, policies and procedures, mistakes, slips and lapses, workload, stress, fatigue

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