After an incident is reported, there should be someone assigned to review the incident reports. Those individuals who review and sign off on individual incident reports should be considering whether the information documented is adequate to establish a clear picture of the event. Additional information may be needed to identify whether procedures were followed or to identify a probable cause.
In addition to identifying single events that require immediate intervention to reduce patient risk and control a potentially compensable situation, incident report data should be tabulated and the statistical information analyzed to show:
Incident Report data alone cannot provide a comprehensive picture of an organization’s activities and potential exposures. To achieve this other sources of data such as Quality Improvement statistics, Safety & Security reports, Utilization Review data, Patient/Family satisfaction and complaint reports, and results from Internal and External Surveys, etc. also need to be reviewed. Only then can an organization hope to have a comprehensive view of potential loss exposures.
Summary: It is important for an organization to periodically review and evaluate their incident reporting procedures. The belief that everything is fine because the reported incident numbers are low is probably not as accurate as one might think. It is more likely that staff are not reporting all incidents or near misses that occur.