Adverse Event Reporting: Harnessing Residents to Improve Patient Safety

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Abstract

Objectives

Reporting of adverse and near miss events are essential to identify system level targets to improve patient safety. Resident physicians historically report few events despite their role as front-line patient care providers. We sought to evaluate barriers to adverse event reporting in an effort to improve reporting. Our main outcomes were as follows: resident attitudes about event reporting and the frequency of event reporting before and after interventions to address reporting barriers.

Methods

We surveyed first year residents regarding barriers to adverse event reporting and used this input to construct a fishbone diagram listing barriers to reporting. Barriers were addressed, and resident event reporting was compared before and after efforts were made to reduce obstacles to reporting.

Results

First year residents (97%) recognized the importance of submitting event reports; however, the majority (85%) had not submitted an event report in the first 6 months of residency. Only 7% of residents specified that they had not witnessed an adverse event in 6 months, whereas one third had witnessed 10 or more events. The main barriers were as follows: lack of knowledge about how to submit events (38%) and lack of time to submit reports (35%). After improving resident education around event reporting and simplifying the reporting process, resident event reporting increased 230% (68 to 154 annual reports, P = 0.025).

Conclusions

We were able to significantly increase resident event reporting by educating residents about adverse events and near misses and addressing the primary barriers to event reporting. Moving forward, we will continue annual resident education about patient safety, focus on improving feedback to residents who submit reports, and empower senior residents to act as role models to junior residents in patient safety initiatives.

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