Trends in healthcare incident reporting and relationship to safety and quality data in acute hospitals: results from the National Reporting and Learning System.
Incident reporting systems are an important method for capturing, analyzing, and learning about a broad range of potential safety issues. However, using the number of incident reports filed as a metric of safety is not a proven relationship, and other methods for adverse event surveillance may be more effective. This study examined hospital-based incident reports to the United Kingdom's National Patient Safety Agency and discovered that increased reporting rates were correlated with a more positive safety culture. However, the authors also point out that increased incident reports failed to correlate with standardized mortality ratios, length of stay, or other quality- or safety-related data.