Mindful organizing in patients’ contributions to primary care medication safety

Denham Phipps, Sally Giles, Penny Lewis, Kate Marsden, Ndeshi Salema, Mark Jeffries, Anthony Avery, Darren Ashcroft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Background: There is a need to ensure that the risks associated with medication usage in primary health care are controlled. To maintain an understanding of the risks, health-care organizations may engage in a process known as "mindful organizing." While this is typically conceived of as involving organizational members, it may in the health-care context also include patients. Our study aimed to examine ways in which patients might contribute to mindful organizing with respect to primary care medication safety. Method: Qualitative focus groups and interviews were carried out with 126 members of the public in North West England and the East Midlands. Participants were taking medicines for a long-term health condition, were taking several medicines, had previously encountered problems with their medication or were caring for another person in any of these categories. Participants described their experiences of dealing with medication-related concerns. The transcripts were analysed using a thematic method. Results: We identified 4 themes to explain patient behaviour associated with mindful organizing: knowledge about clinical or system issues; artefacts that facilitate control of medication risks; communication with health-care professionals; and the relationship between patients and the health-care system (in particular, mutual trust). Conclusions: Mindful organizing is potentially useful for framing patient involvement in safety, although there are some conceptual and practical issues to be addressed before it can be fully exploited in this setting. We have identified factors that influence (and are strengthened by) patients' engagement in mindful organizing, and as such would be a useful focus of efforts to support patient involvement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)964-972
Number of pages9
JournalHealth expectations : an international journal of public participation in health care and health policy
Issue number6
Early online date14 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • high-reliability organizing
  • medication safety
  • mindful organizing
  • organizational safety
  • patient safety
  • primary care


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