Accident and Forensic Investigation Services

Rely on our qualified team of expert investigators to determine the cause of healthcare-related incidents, deliver remedies, and provide legal support

Accidents happen. But they need not be repeated. At ECRI, we work with you to determine what went wrong and why, so we can help you build strategies, procedures and safeguards aimed at preventing future incidents.

After an accident occurs, staff members’ actions must center around restoring safety and maintaining normal operations, and yet, the important investigation work must be handled promptly, thoroughly, and in best practice, independently.

ECRI’s Accident and Forensic Investigation services team has the knowledge, and expertise to conduct an unbiased, professional investigation to uncover and document facts and set your facility on a successful path forward.

Why ECRI

With the trusted ECRI name and more than fifty years of partnering with healthcare facilities to promote safety, ECRI can be counted on to help you determine causes and prevent recurrence. Our investigators are focused first on safety. ECRI’s team of experts brings independent judgment and depth of experience in a systems approach that considers the technology, the users, the patient, and the environment. Investigations determine how patient safety may have been affected by a medical device or technology, the delivery of care, or associated complex processes. Our specialized services include:

  • Sentinel event investigations and analyses
  • Root-cause analyses and risk-reduction strategies
  • Technical consultations, gross and microscopic inspections and biomedical testing
  • Expert consultation and testimony in the event of subsequent litigation

When to call ECRI

ECRI team members are adept at handling technical aspects of investigations such as simulations, reconstructing events, and determining mechanism failure—skills beyond the scope of most internal staff members. ECRI investigators also conduct investigations to best prepare facilities for any legal discussions or proceedings; they properly document all steps, maintaining the chain of custody of evidence, avoid inappropriate release or alteration of evidence and are able to remain unbiased.

It is especially important to rely on ECRI as a trusted partner when the incident involves:

  • Serious injury or death
  • Close calls with potential for serious injury or death
  • Probability of litigation
  • Multiple stakeholder
  • Time-sensitive matters
  • Using internal resources and time needed for ongoing operations

Integrity is everything

It’s also important that your investigation be free from conflicts of interest, or even the appearance of such. This is especially true if there will be civil or criminal litigation. Whenever possible, staff involved in incidents should not be the ones investigating the events. Additionally, some accidents require more sophisticated means of investigation which extend beyond staff’s ability to perform. ECRI’s Accident and Forensic Investigation services team can help with investigations that require:

  • Technology, equipment and /or procedure expertise
  • Transparency and absence of conflict of interest
  • Investigations that could be tainted by conflicts of interest
  • Legal action that could expose internal investigators to subpoena, deposition, or trial

Healthcare is challenging every day. We know you and your staff work diligently to care for patients and create a safe environment where clinical care is job one. Don’t let the aftermath of an accident take needed focus and resources from the mission. Let ECRI help you move forward.

Now more than ever, we need to maintain focus on patient safety. ECRI is prepared to support your needs remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contact us at accidents@ecri.org.