Improved incident reporting following the implementation of a standardized emergency department peer review process

Martin A Reznek, Bruce A Barton
International Journal for Quality in Health Care 2014, 26 (3): 278-86

OBJECTIVE: Incident reporting is an important component of health care quality improvement. The objective of this investigation was to evaluate the effectiveness of an emergency department (ED) peer review process in promoting incident reporting.

DESIGN: An observational, interrupted time-series analysis of health care provider (HCP) incident reporting to the ED during a 30-month study period prior to and following the peer review process implementation and a survey-based assessment of physician perceptions of the peer review process' educational value and its effectiveness in identifying errors.

SETTING: Large, urban, academic ED.

PARTICIPANTS AND INTERVENTIONS: HCPs were invited to participate in a standardized, non-punitive, non-anonymous peer review process that involved analysis and structured discussion of incident reports submitted to ED physician leadership.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Monthly frequency of incident reporting by HCPs and physician perceptions of the peer review process.

RESULTS: HCPs submitted 314 incident reports to the ED over the study period. Following the intervention, frequency of reporting by HCPs within the hospital increased over time. The frequencies of self-reporting, reporting by other ED practitioners and reporting by non-ED practitioners within the hospital increased compared with a control group of outside HCPs (P = 0.0019, P = 0.0025 and P < 0.0001). Physicians perceived the peer review process to be educational and highly effective in identifying errors.

CONCLUSIONS: The implementation of a non-punitive peer review process that provides timely feedback and is perceived as being valuable for error identification and education can lead to increased incident reporting by HCPs.

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