Ask HRC: Switching from Paper to Automated Event Reporting

October 20, 2009 | Healthcare Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance


A Healthcare Risk Control member recently had a question regarding the process of switching from paper event reporting to an automated, Web-based event reporting system. With the automated reporting, more recipients receive reports simultaneously. Staff members had questions regarding electronic event reports: what information should be included in the follow-up documentation narrative, what information should be inserted in the follow-up field, and what risk management’s involvement in the follow-up activity should be.

In our response, HRC states that with the switch from paper to automated event reporting, a lack of definition of what to do when numerous individuals are sent electronic copies is sometimes seen. The event reporting policy should distinctly and specifically address the responsibility and accountability for each person who will receive a copy. However, the activities assigned to each person need to be carefully designated so that there are rare duplications of duties and so that the risk manager has control over the investigative process. Unit managers who are responsible for investigating events that meet a certain level of severity, for instance, need training on prioritizing and conducting event investigations. Care needs to be taken with the information entered into...

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