The hidden cost of regulation: the administrative cost of reporting serious reportable events.
Serious reportable events represent preventable safety hazards. Medical centers are required to investigate these events and report them to various regulatory agencies and, depending on state and local requirements, report them publicly. This case study describes the costs associated with reporting all serious reportable events at a single academic medical center during one fiscal year. The administrative costs to the medical center to investigate and prepare reports were about $8000 per event. Approximately 17% of the costs were attributed to the requirement for public reporting. The authors contend that the costs of performing public reporting of serious adverse events should be weighed against the benefits. A past WebM&M commentary discussed unintended consequences of public reporting and interventions to prevent them.