Establishing a global learning community for incident-reporting systems.
Voluntary error reporting systems are perhaps the most controversial of the available tools for detecting patient safety incidents. A sizable body of research has characterized the limitations of such systems, but they remain a cornerstone of safety efforts at many institutions. This consensus conference, sponsored by the World Alliance for Patient Safety, drew together an international group of error reporting experts in order to develop a learning community for incident reporting. The ultimate goal was to develop guidelines for effective use of reporting systems to improve safety. Discussing the advantages and challenges of current reporting systems, this article proposes guidelines for maximizing incident reporting utility (based on a previously published framework). A previous article discussed the use of different types of reporting systems to obtain a comprehensive view of patient safety within an institution.