Incident reporting, also known as event reporting, used to be about tracking adverse events in the hospital. But hospitals are no longer the center of healthcare delivery universe, patients are. As providers increasingly administer care and services in outpatient or retail clinics, specialty centers, and via telemedicine, our safety and quality improvement tools must adapt as well. In other words, follow the patient to prevent harm.

Event reporting provides valuable insight into occurrences that could, or did, compromise patient care. It helps to identify the root causes of incidents to prevent future incidents, which directly contributes to improving healthcare quality. No matter what incident reporting tool is used, it must support risk management across your organization. What should truly integrated event reporting look like? And how should it respond to the changing landscape of care delivery? 

Educate & train hospital staff on the importance of incident reporting

If “culture eats strategy for lunch,” you can’t get far in encouraging accountability for quality improvement where there’s fear, blame, and uncertainty about the impact of event reporting. Staff education and training enables all parties involved in risk reduction to understand that human error and technology failures can occur despite our best efforts. However, we must be constantly vigilant against mistakes and strive to improve, learning from errors.

In educating and training, emphasize the organizational goals of transparency, data-driven methods, fairness, collaboration, and the pursuit of excellence. Avoid these common hurdles that erode a positive environment for event reporting:

  • Using the same process for minor and important events
  • Labeling incidents (bad vs. good)
  • Allowing misuse of findings internally
  • Failing to help staff improve once events are documented

Automate incident reporting for access and accuracy 

Event reporting starts with documentation for the simple fact that time erases crucial details. Paper reports are a good start but don’t enable organizing, sharing, and reporting on key findings that could save trouble down the road. Staff can’t proactively promote patient safety strategy unless they are part of the analytical process. 

If we’re going to follow the patient to effectively prevent harm, our tools must be accessible and built for all parties who share in the responsibility to track and report incidents—patients, providers, staff, visitors, or any other personnel. Automation reminds busy clinicians with alerts or triggers when they have a role in documenting or analyzing an incident. Accessibility also encourages “see something, say something” actions by patients or visitors, anonymously or not.
Automation yields valuable big-picture insights into processes or events that could compromise patient care. Specifically, event reporting software performs analyses to show patterns of risk or details missed when technology isn’t employed or it’s not easily accessible. Automation also means integration. Peer review, OPPE, and FPPE pull data from multiple sources including case reviews. Why not use a system that makes the connections for you? 

Last but not least, incident reporting software instills confidence that valid information is collected in a timely manner. To foster positive change across your integrated healthcare system, make your event reporting tool accessible and capable of processing essential information documented during the first crucial hours and days post-event. Longer term, keep track of every detail for records and liability protection.

Must-have event reporting functionality

Look for a web-based event reporting software that accomplishes what your organization needs today and may need down the road regarding incident data collection and analysis. Compare with symplr’s robust functionality:

  • Privacy and security safeguards for individuals involved in the event reporting process. Data is accessible only to authorized users. You decide how events are reported, whether anonymously or not, whether the practitioner is notified, and if reported events are linked to peer review cases.
  • Create an unlimited number of action items that can be used for notifications and follow-up. Send notifications of reported events by email or text to participants or key personnel. Users can manage their event notifications by indicator and facility or location. 
  • Quickly run and export incident reports for trending and tracking. Choose from standard reports or configure facility-specific reports that can be accessed from anywhere on any device. Create high-quality reports or analyses that are presentable to leadership, governing bodies, payers, and accreditors and regulators.
  • Integration with your organization’s provider data management software—such as credentialing, privileging, and peer review including FPPE and OPPE.
  • Ability to configure events/incidents and required information using indicator choices and severity levels. Track indicators, including multiple indicators, on one event.

symplr can help your organization document and track cases and incidents that are attributable to your providers and staff, and which may impact patient care, reimbursement, and quality.

Learn more about symplr’s hospital incident reporting solutions.

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