Researchers' roles in patient safety improvement

Elina Pietikäinen (Corresponding Author), Teemu Reiman, Jouko Heikkilä, Luigi Macchi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


    Objectives: In this article, we explore how researchers can contribute to patient safety improvement. We aim to expand the instrumental role researchers have often occupied in relation to patient safety improvement. Methods: We reflect on our own improvement model and experiences as patient safety researchers in an ongoing Finnish multi-actor innovation project through self-reflective narration. Results: Our own patient safety improvement model can be described as systemic. Based on the purpose of the innovation project, our improvement model, and the improvement models of the other actors in the project, we have carried out a wide range of activities. Our activities can be summarized in 8 overlapping patient safety improvement roles: modeler, influencer, supplier, producer, ideator, reflector, facilitator, and negotiator. Conclusions: When working side by side with "practice," researchers are offered and engage in several different activities. The way researchers contribute to patient safety improvement and balance between different roles depends on the purpose of the study, as well as on the underlying patient safety improvement models. Different patient safety research paradigms seem to emphasize different improvement roles, and thus, they also face different challenges. Open reflection on the underlying improvement models and roles can help researchers with different backgrounds-as well as other actors involved in patient safety improvement-in structuring their work and collaborating productively.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)25-33
    JournalJournal of Patient Safety
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • patient safety
    • safety management
    • innovations
    • narratives


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