This primer provides a broad overview of three widely used tools for investigating and responding to patient safety events and near misses. Tools covered in this primer are incident reporting systems, Root Cause Analysis (RCA), and Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA). These tools have been used in high-risk industries and occupations such as aviation, manufacturing, nuclear power, and the military and have been adapted for use in enhancing patient safety in healthcare settings over the past two decades.
An essential aspect of preventing medical errors and improving patient safety is using data effectively to understand, track and communicate performance on patient safety metrics. This primer provides an overview of visual tools – histograms, scatter plots, run charts and control charts – hospitals and health systems can leverage to track patient safety data.