Healthcare News: OIG report states hospitals capture only a fraction of adverse events

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) stated in its recent publication, “Hospital Incident Reporting Systems Do Not Capture Most Patient Harm,” that a series of reports examining adverse events in hospitals shows that for the hospitals it surveyed, the incident reporting systems only tracked approximately 14% of incidents.

The reporting systems, which hospitals rely on to monitor adverse events (i.e., harm to a patient as a result of medical care), failed to report the remaining percentage of incidents because staff members either did not perceive them as reportable (62%) or staff members commonly reported them (e.g., falls) but not in the incidents in question for various reasons, including limited staff time or the misperception that another staff member would report the event (25%), according to the report released January 5.

The OIG stated that improving these incident reporting systems to track and examine adverse events is critical to hospitals’ efforts to improve patient safety.

As a result of its findings, the OIG made several recommendations, including that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and CMS collaborate to create and distribute a list to hospitals of potentially reportable events.

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