Priorities for Pediatric Patient Safety Research

Developing a research agenda that is focused on the priorities of key stakeholders may expedite implementation and dissemination. Our objective was to identify the highest-priority patient-safety research topics among pediatric clinicians, health care leaders, and families.


The Children’s Hospitals Solutions for Patient Safety Network is a network of >100 children’s hospitals working together to eliminate harm due to health care. Parents and site leaders responded to an open-ended, anonymous e-mail survey used to elicit research topics. A key stakeholder panel winnowed related topics and prioritized topics using Likert scale ratings. Site leaders and parents responded to a second anonymous e-mail survey and rated the importance of each topic. Health system executive interviews were used to elicit their opinions regarding top priorities for patient-safety research.


The elicitation survey had 107 respondents who produced 49 unique research topics. The key stakeholder panel developed a final list of 24 topics. The prioritization survey had 74 respondents. Top-priority research topics concerned high reliability, safety culture, open communication, and early detection of patient deterioration and sepsis. During 7 qualitative interviews, health system executives highlighted diagnostic error, medication safety, deterioration, and ambulatory patient safety as priority areas.


With this study, we take a first step toward a stakeholder-driven research agenda on the basis of the assumption that stakeholders are best positioned to determine what research will be used to address the problems of most concern to them.