Investigating the cost and efficiency of incident reporting in a specialist paediatric NHS hospital and impact on patient safety

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The aim of this study was to investigate the incident reporting process (IR1s), to calculate the costs of reporting incidents in this context and to gain an indication of how economic the process was and whether it could be improved to yield better outcomes.


A retrospective analysis of a sample, 10.47% (n=150) selected from 1432 medication incident report summaries, generated at Birmingham Children's Hospital, a specialist tertiary referral paediatric centre, during 2014 and collated through the national Datix incident reporting system software was analysed and the associated staff time required to complete each step of the incident reporting process was costed. The staff costs for various grades of staff were averaged across the staff actually involved, using data calculated by the Personal Social Services Research Unit.


The analysis showed that the incident reporting process involved 262 staff on 2942 occasions (19.16 staff episodes per incident form completed) at a cost of £337.16 per incident form completed.


The study showed that the incident reporting system was a labour intensive process. The numbers of staff involved in the process particularly as a result of the email distribution activity did appear to have room for efficiencies. However, it proved to be relatively inexpensive from a cost perspective. With redesign, arguably the emphasis could be moved away from the recording process to learning in order to gain improved patient safety outcomes.

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