An incident reporting system that makes it easy to gather raw data on what is happening in your organization is a beautiful thing. Catchy icons, easy-to-navigate reporting, and advanced form-management tools, such as show/hide logic and dependent picklists, protect data integrity and avoid incomplete forms. These systems are usually HIPAA compliant and mobile-friendly to boot.

But what happens after that? Raw data doesn’t mean much on its own. Indeed, most organizations are drowning in data that can’t be translated into a meaningful story. The question is: Can you turn your incident data into the kind of intelligence that will make a real difference in preventing future incidents?

Many basic analytics tools and legacy systems can perform simple tasks like tallying events by type so you see your most frequent event types, pre-fall activity, and so forth – but that’s about it. If you want a more in-depth, consequential story, you have to pull it together yourself, which can take a tremendous amount of time and effort – if it can be done at all.

Next-generation incident reporting systems turn your data into intelligence that can change the future. Sophisticated tools allow you to apply what you’ve learned from the past in determining actions to prevent additional occurrences. And when these incident reporting systems are part of broader Enterprise Risk Management systems, you can coordinate your efforts across disciplines for maximum results.

Here are six ways an integrated incident reporting system can make a real difference to your organization:

1. Connects seemingly disparate data.

Have improvements in handwashing scores impacted HAIs? What about improvements to medication bar-code scanners? Has that impacted medication administration errors? Modern incident reporting systems bring together data from different parts of the organization to give you a clear picture of how your risks and actions relate, as well as the impact on the organization.

2. Maintains data integrity.

Every time you import data from another source, you lose a little something in the translation. And if you have to rekey data manually, you could be losing a lot to human error alone. Modern incident reporting systems give all stakeholders access to original, real-time data at its most granular level without ever compromising integrity.

3. Upgrades painlessly.

What happens if one vendor upgrades its system? Will that system still match up with your carefully constructed, yet un-upgraded, connections to other systems? Modern incident reporting systems help you avoid unnecessary downtime that’s inevitable with staggered system upgrades. Everyone is always working with the latest and greatest for the most timely response to adverse events.

4. Saves money.

The total cost of maintaining separate systems might surprise you. There are multiple contracts, training requirements, and teams of people to keep track of – and you have to spend even more time and money if you want to connect data between systems. Modern, integrated incident reporting systems dramatically cut the cost of system maintenance. One integrated system also streamlines workflows and eliminates duplicate data entry, which helps fewer resources get more done.

5. Pulls in external data.

Pulls in external data. Do certain incident types increase or decrease with seasonal changes? How do the social determinants of health affect incident rates at various healthcare locations? Modern incident reporting systems can interface with outside entities and systems to correlate your experience with things like weather for added insight.

6. Delivers reports that YOU want.

Delivers reports that YOU want. It’s tough to answer complex questions about incidents, causes, and actions if you’re restricted to out-of-the-box reports. Modern incident reporting systems allow you to manipulate real-time data and easily create reports using drag-and-drop functionality that make sense to you and your organization. No programming skills required.

The fact is that it’s tough to take forward-facing actions using only backward-looking data. Modern incident reporting systems can offer so much more value than simply tallying event types. Are you ready to move from merely reporting on incidents to actually preventing them?

For more on how to begin managing risks in an integrated way, download our e-book,
RX for Risk: ERM in the Healthcare Industry.