Four in 10 healthcare organizations feel they’re strong in patient safety, but a whopping 90% say there’s still room for improvement.

Incident reporting is ground zero when it comes to improving patient outcomes. You can’t perform root cause analysis, identify trends, or take any remedial action without first knowing about an issue and the surrounding conditions.

In the real world, however, incidents and near misses don’t always get reported for a variety of reasons – maybe the form takes too long to complete or seems to disappear into a black hole. If you aren’t on the front line on a regular basis, you may not realize what’s holding you back. In honor of Patient Safety Week, here are five ways to put fresh eyes on your incident reporting process:

1. No finger-pointing.

Fear of being blamed is one of the biggest roadblocks to incident reporting. Accommodating anonymous reporting can go a long way toward alleviating any fears – real or imagined – that the person reporting the incident will be held accountable and their performance record dinged.

2. Acknowledge appreciation.

Providers like to feel their reports actually made a difference in patient outcomes. Promptly acknowledge receipt of every incident report, and follow up to explain what actions were taken and the results. There are few things more powerful than saying, for instance, that the rate of falls improved by 40% because of a new bilingual sign spurred by the reporter’s submission.

3. Praise the saves.

Near misses can be at least as – if not more – instructive as adverse events themselves. Celebrate those who catch a mistake before it causes harm, especially if they are brave enough to report on themselves.

4. Make reporting as easy as 1-2-3.

Incident reporting forms that are hard to find or confusing to complete are a huge deterrent for a busy staff, no matter how well-intentioned they may be. User-friendly technology that offers on-the-go access and prepopulated fields saves precious time. Plus, you’re more likely to get the information when it’s still fresh.

5. Think outside the box.

Would QR codes simplify accessibility? Would anonymous reporting boost rates by removing the fear factor? Don’t blindly stick to the status quo. Be constantly on the lookout for new ideas to make incident reporting easier. Put out the suggestion box and see what happens.

Incident reporting is crucial for improving patient safety. After all, you can only address the issues you know about. With the right processes, tools, and procedures in place, you can boost your incident reporting rates – and potentially save lives.

Are you ready to take a fresh look at event reporting?

For more on improving patient outcomes with technology, download our e-book,
Better Together: How Software Can Integrate Risk Management, Quality, and Safety in the Healthcare Industry.