Healthcare News & Insights

Report: 86% of patient injuries go unreported

Hospitals’ incident reporting systems are only registering about 14% of patient injuries, according to a new study. 

That’s the conclusion of a new statement from the Office of the Inspector General. According to the report, hospitals investigate the patient harm events that are most likely to help them make safety or quality improvements and they made relatively few policy changes based on the events that were reported.

As for the other 86% of incidents, hospitals said 61% were events that the staff didn’t perceive as a reportable event. The rest were normally reported but not reported in that specific instance.

OIG noted that all the hospitals reviewed had incident reporting systems in place and that hospital managers say they rely on the systems to monitor quality of care and catch potential problems.

Because incident reporting is so vital to hospitals, OIG recommended that CMS take the following steps:

  • collaborate with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to create a list of potentially reportable incidents that hospitals could use
  • provide guidance to accreditors regarding their assessments of hospital efforts to track and analyze events
  • suggest that surveyors evaluate the information collected by hospitals using AHRQ’s Common Formats, and
  • scrutinize survey standards for assessing hospital compliance with the requirement to track and analyze events and reinforce assessment of incident reporting systems as a key tool to improve event tracking.

To see the full report as a downloadable PDF click here.

Will those steps actually improve incident reporting and make it easier for hospitals to improve overall patient care? Share your thoughts in the comments.


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