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How to Streamline the Incident Reporting Process

Patient Safety Incident and Event Reporting

Each day, healthcare organizations face new and unique challenges that affect the quality of the patient experience. Healthcare risk managers play a vital role in combating these challenges, including reducing patient harm and preventing costly claims.

According to the American Hospital Association, hospitals conduct approximately 36.2 million admissions in the U.S. each year. (1)

With a growing number of patients admitted to healthcare facilities every year, many risk managers face competing priorities, from evolving patient safety needs to growing regulatory requirements. As more tasks demand attention from risk managers, it can become difficult to focus on what really matters – reducing patient harm. (2)

Modern healthcare providers must take a smarter approach to handling day-to-day operations and addressing risk. Implementing a patient safety software can help risk managers identify trends and minimize time spent retrieving data from disparate sources.

A risk manager equipped with modern technology tools can significantly reduce the risk of patient safety incidents. (3) When evaluating software solutions, risk managers should look for the following features:

1. User-friendly Icons

An effective patient safety software should be easy to navigate. Staff should know exactly where to go to report an event in order to reduce complexity and encourage reporting of incidents, events, and near misses. (4) Various types of events should use different icons for reporting; for example, a staff member reporting a fall event would click on a different icon than a staff member who was reporting a medication error. The software should also include tooltips for greater efficiency.

A tooltip is a text description that is displayed when a user hovers the mouse cursor over an icon or image. (5)

Utilizing this feature enables staff to quickly determine the proper course of action for reporting various types of incidents.

2. Customizable Reporting Forms for Quick Submissions

It is essential to choose a solution that is customizable to the specific needs of your organization. Rather than changing your processes to meet the technology’s capabilities, an effective patient safety solution should be adaptable to the processes your team is already familiar with. For instance, if your organization uses the terminology "location" instead of "facility", then the questions on an incident reporting intake form should reflect that language to make it easy for staff to understand. 

A technology solution should also be adaptable to the changing demands of an organization. Having the ability to quickly add or remove questions from a reporting form is an important way to keep up with ever-evolving needs.

An effective incident reporting software should allow team members to complete incident reports in less than 3 minutes.  Look for the ability to quickly navigate through forms with the use of radio buttons instead of free text fields (which tend to be more time-consuming.) The goal is to be able to easily capture the facts of an event and allow team members to quickly go back to patient care. 

3. Interoperability

Having a single platform with easily accessible data allows care teams to stay informed and engaged. A software solution for risk management should securely integrate with EHRs to make it easy to pull patient information, resulting in faster reporting time. (6)

4. Automatic Routing for Follow-Up 

Risk managers should look for a solution that offers flexible, automatic routing. For example, if an event happens in the Emergency Department, the ED supervisor(s) should be notified. However, if a medication error is reported, the pharmacist should also be looped in for follow-up. Look for a solution that allows you to decide whether risk management is automatically notified whenever an incident is submitted or if it should route to the department supervisor first. This increases efficiency of resolution and allows risk managers to quickly identify high areas of risk.

5. Real-time Dashboards and Analytics

When safety events are displayed through data visualization tools (such as a graph or pie chart), it allows risk and quality leaders to easily view trends and create follow-up action plans. (7) User-friendly dashboards give risk managers the ability to easily track trends over time, identify areas of improvement, and proactively reduce risk. Access to real-time patient information helps providers identify exactly where an error is happening, allowing leadership teams to prevent future safety events before they occur. (3)

To help risk managers improve day-to-day operations and reduce risk, it is critical for healthcare organizations to choose the right technology solution for their needs.

Performance Health Partner's Patient Safety Solution 

Performance Health Partners customizable reporting solutions help organizations improve outcomes across departments and teams. With Performance Health Partner’s Patient Safety solution, healthcare organizations can access the data they need to increase patient safety and improve the overall care experience. Learn more at https://www.performancehealthus.com/patient-safety or schedule a demo here.

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References:

1. https://www.aha.org/statistics/fast-facts-us-hospitals

2. https://www.healthinformatics.uic.edu/blog/risk-management-in-healthcare

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5787626/

4. http://med.stanford.edu/content/dam/sm/sm-news/documents/StanfordMedicineHealthTrendsWhitePaper2017.pdf

5. https://www.nngroup.com/articles/tooltip-guidelines/

6. https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/healthcare-information-technology/the-5-key-benefits-of-healthcare-interoperability.html?oly_enc_id=2071D0109945I4Q

7. https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/healthcare-information-technology/variation-in-healthcare-delivery-the-need-for-standardization.html

 

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