Anonymous, Non-Punitive Error Reporting Can Boost Reporting Frequency

A medical error reporting system that is anonymous and non-punitive could dramatically improve the rate of reporting by healthcare professionals, according to research published in Pediatrics.

For their study, researchers established a multidisciplinary patient safety team and an anonymous, non-punitive medical error reporting system at a pediatric practice in Charlotte, N.C. If a medical error was reported, the team would analyze the event and make recommendations to prevent future harm.

 

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In a two-and-a-half year period, 216 medical errors were reported through the new system, compared to five reports in the year before the project started. A majority of the reports were submitted by physicians, nurses and midlevel providers. The top three most frequently reported errors were misfiled or erroneously entered patient information; laboratory tests delayed or not performed; and errors in medication prescriptions or dispensing.

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