Incident reporting systems (IRSs) are important patient safety tools for identifying risks and opportunities for improvement. A major IRS limitation is underreporting of incidents. Perioperative anesthesia IRSs have been established at multiple pediatric institutions and a national pediatric anesthesia IRS for perioperative serious adverse events (SAEs) is maintained by Wake Up Safe (WUS), a patient safety organization dedicated to pediatric anesthesia quality improvement. A confidential, electronic, perioperative IRS was instituted at our tertiary children’s hospital, which is a WUS member. The primary study aim was to increase the rate of incident reporting by anesthesiologists at our institution through a series of interventions. The secondary aim was to characterize our reporting behavior relative to national practice by referencing SAE data from WUS.METHODS:
Perioperative adverse events reported over a 71-month period (November 2010 to September 2016) were categorized and the monthly reporting rates determined. Effects of 6 interventions targeted to increase the reporting rate were analyzed using control charts. Intervention 5 involved interviewing pediatric anesthesiologists to ascertain incident reporting barriers and motivators. A key driver diagram was developed and used to guide an improvement initiative. Incidents that fulfilled WUS criteria for SAEs were identified and categorized. SAE reporting rates over a 27-month period for 12 WUS member institutions were determined.RESULTS:
2689 perioperative adverse events were noted in 1980 of 72,384 anesthetics. Mean monthly adverse event case rate was 273 (95% confidence interval, 250–297) per 10,000 anesthetics. A subgroup involving 54,469 cases had 529 SAEs in 440 anesthetics; a mean monthly SAE case rate of 80 (95% confidence interval, 69–91) per 10,000 anesthetics. Cardiac, respiratory, and airway events predominated. Relative to WUS peer members, our institution is a high-reporting outlier. The rate of incident reporting per 10,000 anesthetics was sustainably increased from 149 ± 35 to 387 ± 73 (mean ± SD) after implementing mandatory IRS data entry and Intervention 5 quality improvement initiative. Barriers to reporting included concern for punitive repercussions, feelings of incompetence, poor education about what constitutes an event, lack of feedback, and the perception that reporting had no value. These were addressed by IRS education, cultivation of a culture of safety where reporting is encouraged, reporter feedback, and better inclusion of anesthesiologists in patient safety work.CONCLUSIONS:
Electronic mandatory IRS data entry and an initiative to understand and address reporting barriers and motivators were associated with sustained increases in the adverse event reporting rate. These strategies to minimize underreporting enhance IRS value for learning and may be generalizable.