A new study published in the International Journal for Quality in Health Care shows that electronic management and clinical information systems can be used to improve the rate and quality of error reporting.
The study was carried out in two hospitals in Sydney by a team of researchers from the Centre for Health Systems and Safety Research at Macquarie University Sydney.
They found the reporting rate for medication errors was very low, despite the practice being encouraged by hospital policies and senior management for quality improvement and patient safety standards. This corresponds with statistics from a number of other key studies on error reporting rates. Only 15% of medication errors that occurred during the period of the study were reported. 10% of the incidents not reported were rated as clinically important for the patient.
The study discussed the findings and discussed evidence from other similar studies on barriers to reporting incidents. These included lack of time, concerns about repercussions or disciplinary action, an absence of evidence that the reports will be used for good. They conclude that clinicians must learn to view incident reporting as an indicator of an open and safe reporting culture. They suggest that electronic medication management and incident reporting systems can offer an important means to reduce many of the barriers to incident reporting such as time, automatically mining data, presenting the key information in a quick, visual manner and link a number of key processes together in real time.
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