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The problem with incident reporting
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  • Published on:
    The problem with non-clinical incident reports
    • Konstantin K Weicht, Professor of Organization Studies National Sun Yat-sen University; WU Vienna University of Economics and Business

    We can only reiterate the points brought forward by Carl Macrae in “The problem with incident reporting”. In our own work with incident reporting systems in the UK and Austria we observe that an estimated 50% of incident reports are eliminated without further consideration due to their non-clinical nature, even if they may affect patient safety. The remaining clinical reports are then pigeonholed to fit existing medical categories of expertise for further investigation. Hence, current incident reporting practices do not truly reflect the systemic complexities of medical errors, which are composed of both clinical and non-clinical elements. Incident reporting systems in healthcare need to either use more stringent reporting criteria to exclude non-clinical incidents upfront (even if they affect patient safety), but this would mean cutting themselves short of opportunities for whole system improvement. Alternatively, non-clinical reports should be further investigated to determine their potential contribution to (un)safe practice. This is likely to require the inclusion of non-clinical, organisational experts in the analysis of incident reports.

    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    The problem with incident reporting

    Dear Sir or Madam

    I read with interest the editorial by Carl Macrae on incident reporting. I wonder if, in making a detailed comparison with the aviation and other industries, Macrae loses sight of one important reason why health services staff report incidents. My experience suggests that often the purpose of reports is not to learn from incidents but for staff to pre -emptively give their version of events in...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.