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Incident reporting must result in local action
  1. Louise Isager Rabøl1,
  2. Ove Gaardboe1,
  3. Annemarie Hellebek2,3
  1. 1Dansk Selskab for Patientsikkerhed, Hvidovre, Denmark
  2. 2Regional Office for Patient Safety, Capital Region of Denmark, Copenhagen University Hospital Herlev, Hvidovre, Denmark
  3. 3Department of Diagnostic Services, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to Dr Louise Isager Rabøl, Dansk Selskab for Patientsikkerhed, Hvidovre Hospital, Kettegard Alle 30, Hvidovre 2650, Denmark; info{at}

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It was with great interest that we read the study of Howell and colleagues.1

In 2003, Denmark was the first country in the world to adopt a law on patient safety that obligated hospital staff to report, the hospitals to react and the National Board of Health to communicate the learning from patient safety incidents. The national reporting system was made strictly confidential, with a clear division between disciplinary and learning functions. Local data are transmitted anonymously to the national level. In 2010 and 2011, the law was expanded to cover all of healthcare, including primary care, and allowing incident reporting from patients and families.

However, recently, the Danish incident reporting system has received criticism for being too bureaucratic, and with too little learning and too few actions resulting from the more than 180 000 annual reports. Reporting in itself is time-consuming (20–30 min per report) and analysis of the report takes on average 1 hour. Additionally, because of …

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  • Twitter Follow Louise Rabøl at @louiseraboel

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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