Incident Reporting across the Healthcare Industry

With definitive reporting across medical facilities, stakeholders have the best chance of catching potential hazards and correcting them. The potential for an improved standard of care for patients becomes evident and employee safety is vastly improved.

1. What is an incident report in nursing?

An incident report is a report which details an event where a person is injured, or property is damaged. If these conditions occur on medical facility property, completion of an incident report is necessary.

2. When to report an incident report?

Some health care facilities have different standards than others, so as a baseline standard, an event becomes a reportable incident when it meets one or both prerequisites:

• A person sustains an injury.
• Property sustains damage.

With this definite ruling in practice, a medical facility has the best chance of catching potential hazards and correcting them. The potential for an improved standard of care for patients becomes evident when there is no grey area in an incident reporting program. Similar to an incident report in nursing for injuries, you can include a polarized property damage reporting policy in your reporting practices. It could be as simple as an I.V. or med cart’s wheel breaking or a broken mirror due to a patient’s outburst. No matter the cause, if the property is damaged, it should fall into the category of required reporting.

3. What to report?

Clarifying what constitutes injury or damage to a person or property is important. If a ward is bustling and the nurses busy, there is a likely chance that nurses may avoid an incident report for minor concerns like paper cuts or stubbed toes. But what happens when a patient returns with a lawyer six months later and demands restitution for alleged mistreatment for a minor incident? If there is no record you will be left liable. Always file an incident report if you are notified of an injury, no matter the severity. It’s the only way to ensure that you’ve got a record to protect yourself and the facility you work for.

4. Why do nurses need to file an incident report?

There are five primary reasons why nurses need to complete incident reports:

• Personal liability
Morally, we’re supposed to ignore personal liability, but being named in a lawsuit can have serious consequences for individuals. Nurses ought to complete incident reports with every event that includes property damage (or loss) or injury to anyone.

• Facility/Organisation liability
Being fired or reputationally damaged because of neglecting to report a situation is best avoided. Maintaining a strict incident reporting regiment is a wise practice and will help nurses avoid putting their organisation at risk.

• Enhanced patient care and facilities
Documenting incidents of every type is the only way that safety and operations managers can implement new, evolved, or replacement procedures. From a simple material change to a procedural makeover, without documentation of how an incident came to pass, a facility cannot improve its functions. In medical facilities, especially, a minor improvement could make the difference between life and death for a patient.

• Improved workplace safety culture
In any organisation, whether a medical facility like a hospital, a clinic, or another medical establishment, one thing is critical – when everyone follows the rules, it’s easy to follow them yourself. It is valid for incident reporting in the nursing community as well. A team effort and approach towards improving safety can aid in a positive safety culture throughout your workplace.

• Improved Restitution Process
Documenting all incidents within a medical facility is critical for nurses to aid in maintaining safe and fair facilities. The goal should be facilities where patients, visitors, and staff alike get treated with dignity and respect. And that means that they have the right to make claims and find reward in restitution if the situation deems it warranted.

5. Can the reporting process be automated?

In the modern age, the reporting process can be aided by technology. Incident management systems take the basic function of reporting and automate the process to achieve a quicker and easier solution. The Locate Global platform is no exception. Organisations can tailor individual pre-programmed reports, providing healthcare workers specific reporting features within their mobile application. Then, employees can submit their reports anonymously (if required) and the reports are dated and geo-stamped to show the location of the incident.

Utilising Reports to highlight issues or incidents provides valuable visibility into on the ground operations. Reported problems are prioritised accordingly within your control dashboard, ensuring that emergencies or urgent incidents are responded to first. Information from these reports can, additionally, produce a visual heatmap displayed in the dashboard, so prevalent hazards or reoccurring issues in certain locations can be addressed.

To learn more about the Locate Global platform, or to see our platform in action visit