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Adverse Event

An adverse event is defined as a preventable medical error that causes harm to the patient. Not all medical errors are adverse events and not all medical errors become adverse events. The differences between a side effect and an adverse event are predictability, severity, and consequences. 

At times the distinction between a side effect and an adverse event can be blurred. A side effect is typically considered to be predictable, minor in severity and often temporary in duration, and it will not cause harm or require treatment. An adverse event is typically considered to be (somewhat) unpredictable, moderate to severe, possibly permanent, and it may cause harm and/or require treatment and stopping the use of a medication suspected to be causing the adverse event.

Interprofessional education and training has been increasingly emphasized in the literature on safety in health systems. The IOM and other researchers advocate that interprofessional awareness of safety issues in healthcare is critical to the delivery of high-quality care, however also point out that while interprofessional awarenessof safety issues in healthcare have grown, health care professionals are still not adequately prepared for this team-based practice.4There have been barriers to interprofessional training and collaboration due to a variety of factors, such as “logistical challenges, deep-rooted cultural differences among the health care professions, differences in educational curricula and trajectory, and costs … intraprofessional collaboration can be difficult to achieve in practice…”4Inexperienced or newer clinicians may have difficulty speaking up about unsafe practice and possible medical error when more senior clinicians are involved.