Classifying Safety Events Related to Diagnostic Imaging From a Safety Reporting System Using a Human Factors Framework

Ronilda Lacson, Laila Cochon, Ivan Ip, Sonali Desai, Allen Kachalia, Jack Dennerlein, James Benneyan, Ramin Khorasani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: The aim of this study was to measure diagnostic imaging safety events reported to an electronic safety reporting system and assess steps at which they occurred within the diagnostic imaging workflow and contributing sociotechnical factors. Methods: The authors evaluated all electronic safety reporting system reports related to diagnostic imaging during calendar year 2015 at an academic medical center with 50,000 admissions, 950,000 ambulatory visits, and 680,000 diagnostic imaging studies annually. Each report was assigned a harm score ranging from 0 to 4 by the reporter; scores of 2 (minor harm) to 4 (death) were classified as “potential harm.” Two reviewers manually classified reports into steps involved in the diagnostic imaging chain and sociotechnical factors per the Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety framework. The κ coefficient was used to measure interreviewer agreement on 10% of reports. The percentage of reports that could cause “potential harm” was compared for each step and sociotechnical factor using χ 2 analysis. Results: Of 11,570 safety reports submitted in 2015, 854 (7%) were related to diagnostic imaging. Although the most common step was imaging procedure (54% of reports), potential harm occurred more in result communication (odds ratio, 2.36; P =.05). Person factors most commonly contributed to safety reports (71%). Potential harm occurred more in safety reports that were related to tasks compared with person factors (odds ratio, 5.03; P <.0001). The κ coefficient was 0.79. Conclusions: Safety events were related to diagnostic imaging in 7% of reported events. Potential harm occurred primarily during imaging procedure and result communication. Safety events were attributed to multifactorial sociotechnical factors. Further work is necessary to decrease safety events related to diagnostic imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-288
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Patient safety
  • diagnostic errors
  • diagnostic imaging
  • sociotechnical factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Classifying Safety Events Related to Diagnostic Imaging From a Safety Reporting System Using a Human Factors Framework'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this