Radiology department, human factors and organizational perspectives: Using action research to improve patient safety

Osnat Tourgeman-Bashkin, David Shinar, Yoel Donchin, Ehud Zmora, Nitsa Velleman, Eugeine Libson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Action research is a participatory research method based on active cooperation between researchers and subjects. In clinical practice, action research enables active involvement of workers in developing and implementing actions promoting patient safety. This article describes a participatory action research project that was conducted in the radiology department of a tertiary care university hospital. The main objectives were: identifying potential adverse events in the department of radiology, and offering a proactive approach to improving patient safety. Methods: Phase one of the study included observing 100 patients in three units of the department and identifying potential adverse events using an observation form. According to the data obtained from the observations, multidisciplinary research teams developed and initiated, together with front-line workers, four types of interventions: ergonomic interventions in work environment design, interventions in work procedure and task design, training and guidance, and managerial interventions. Phase two included evaluation of the interventions after six months of implementation. Results: Results showed different weaknesses in each of the three radiology units tested, including incomplete medical information necessary for performing the radiological procedure, and discontinuity of care. Post-intervention observations showed a significant reduction in the prevalence of potential adverse events. At the Angiography unit, potential adverse events related to incomplete medical information dropped from 50% to 32%, and at the CT unit they dropped from 70% to 23%. At the MRI unit potential adverse events related to discontinuity of care dropped from 61% to 19%. Conclusions: The current study demonstrates the value of action research in non-hospitalizing health units and the benefits of cooperation between medical teams and human factor professionals in promoting patient safety. Methods similar to those described in the current paper are applicable to medical work teams in a broad range of practices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number40
JournalIsrael Journal of Health Policy Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 23 Oct 2013


  • Action research
  • Organization
  • Patient safety
  • Potential adverse events
  • Radiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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