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Electronic adverse incident reporting in hospitals

Walsh, K. and Burns, C. and Antony, J. (2010) Electronic adverse incident reporting in hospitals. Leadership in Health Services, 23 (4). ISSN 1751-1879

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The purpose of this study was to assess attitudes toward and use of an electronic adverse incident reporting system in all four hospitals in one NHS Scotland Health Board area. A questionnaire was used to assess Medical Consultants', Managers', and Nurses' attitudes and perceptions about electronic adverse incident reporting. Actual adverse incident reporting data were also analysed. The main findings from this study are that Consultants, Managers, and Nurses all had positive attitudes about responsibility for reporting adverse incidents. All respondents indicated that the design of and information collected by the electronic adverse incident reporting system (DATIX) was adequate but Consultants had more negative attitudes and perceptions than Managers and Nurses about DATIX. All respondents expressed negative attitudes about the amount and type of feedback they receive from reporting, and Consultants expressed more negative attitudes about how DATIX is managed than Managers and Nurses. Analysis of adverse incident reporting data found that the proportion of Consultants using DATIX to report incidents was significantly lower than that of Managers and Nurses. The findings suggest that there are no additional barriers to incident reporting associated with the use of a bespoke electronic adverse incident reporting system as compared to other types of systems. Although an electronic adverse incident reporting system may be able to increase incident reporting and facilitate organisational learning by making it easier to report incidents and analyse incident reporting data, strong leadership within hospitals / healthcare professions (or healthcare subcultures) is still required in order to promote and sustain incident reporting to improve patient safety.