When Bad Things Happen: Adverse Event Reporting and Disclosure as Patient Safety and Risk Management Tools in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, USA.
American Journal of Perinatology (Impact Factor: 1.91). 08/2011; 29(1):65-70. DOI: 10.1055/s-0031-1285825
Source: PubMed


The Institute of Medicine has recommended a change in culture from "name and blame" to patient safety. This will require system redesign to identify and address errors, establish performance standards, and set safety expectations. This approach, however, is at odds with the present medical malpractice (tort) system. The current system is outcomes-based, meaning that health care providers and institutions are often sued despite providing appropriate care. Nevertheless, the focus should remain to provide the safest patient care. Effective peer review may be hindered by the present tort system. Reporting of medical errors is a key piece of peer review and education, and both anonymous reporting and confidential reporting of errors have potential disadvantages. Diagnostic and treatment errors continue to be the leading sources of allegations of malpractice in pediatrics, and the neonatal intensive care unit is uniquely vulnerable. Most errors result from systems failures rather than human error. Risk management can be an effective process to identify, evaluate, and address problems that may injure patients, lead to malpractice claims, and result in financial losses. Risk management identifies risk or potential risk, calculates the probability of an adverse event arising from a risk, estimates the impact of the adverse event, and attempts to control the risk. Implementation of a successful risk management program requires a positive attitude, sufficient knowledge base, and a commitment to improvement. Transparency in the disclosure of medical errors and a strategy of prospective risk management in dealing with medical errors may result in a substantial reduction in medical malpractice lawsuits, lower litigation costs, and a more safety-conscious environment.

26 Reads
  • Source
    • "Reporting systems, recommended by the Institute of Medicine [15] for identifying and addressing medical errors, have been increasingly used in neonatology to prevent and manage iatrogenic events [16,17], but in the context of this study the anonymous mail box was mainly used to propose positive inputs and organizational suggestions for the project, as in private companies [18]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Aim of this study was to provide a detailed description of a Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) outbreak management strategy in the neonatal intensive care unit of a university hospital. This was a retrospective, "before-after" study, over two consecutive 18-month periods. The outbreak management strategy was performed by a multidisciplinary team and included: extensive healthcare workers (HCW) involvement, education, continuous hand-hygiene training and active MRSA colonization surveillance. The actions implemented were identified based on an anonymous, voluntary, reporting system, carried out among all the HCW, and regular audit and feedback were provided to the nursing staff.The main measured outcome was the rate of MRSA infections before and after the implementation of the outbreak management strategy. Piecewise linear Poisson regression was performed and the model adjusted for confounding variables. The secondary outcome was the rate of laboratory-confirmed bloodstream infections before and after the outbreak management strategy. The rates of MRSA colonization, implementation of proposed actions, observed compliance for hand-hygiene and insertion/care of central lines were also recorded during the second period. 1015 newborns were included. The rate of MRSA infections throughout the two periods fell from 3.5 to 0.7 cases per 1000 patient-days (p=0.0005). The piecewise Poisson regression analysis adjusted for confounding variables showed a significant decrease in the MRSA infection rate after the outbreak management strategy (p=0.046). A significant decrease in positive laboratory confirmed blood cultures was observed over the two periods (160 vs 83; p<0.0001). A significant decline in the MRSA colonization rate occurred over the second period (p=0.001); 93% of the proposed actions were implemented. The compliance rate for hand-hygiene and insertion/care of central lines was respectively 95.9% and 62%. The implementation of multiple, simultaneous, evidence-based management strategies is effective for controlling nosocomial infections. Outbreak management strategies may benefit from tools improving the communication between the institutional and scientific leadership and the ground-level staff. These measures can help to identify individualized solutions addressing specific unit needs.
    BMC Infectious Diseases 09/2013; 13(1):440. DOI:10.1186/1471-2334-13-440 · 2.61 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Co-morbidity information derived from administrative data needs to be validated to allow its regular use. We assessed evolution in the accuracy of coding for Charlson and Elixhauser co-morbidities at three time points over a 5-year period, following the introduction of the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10), coding of hospital discharges. Cross-sectional time trend evaluation study of coding accuracy using hospital chart data of 3'499 randomly selected patients who were discharged in 1999, 2001 and 2003, from two teaching and one non-teaching hospital in Switzerland. We measured sensitivity, positive predictive and Kappa values for agreement between administrative data coded with ICD-10 and chart data as the 'reference standard' for recording 36 co-morbidities. For the 17 the Charlson co-morbidities, the sensitivity - median (min-max) - was 36.5% (17.4-64.1) in 1999, 42.5% (22.2-64.6) in 2001 and 42.8% (8.4-75.6) in 2003. For the 29 Elixhauser co-morbidities, the sensitivity was 34.2% (1.9-64.1) in 1999, 38.6% (10.5-66.5) in 2001 and 41.6% (5.1-76.5) in 2003. Between 1999 and 2003, sensitivity estimates increased for 30 co-morbidities and decreased for 6 co-morbidities. The increase in sensitivities was statistically significant for six conditions and the decrease significant for one. Kappa values were increased for 29 co-morbidities and decreased for seven. Accuracy of administrative data in recording clinical conditions improved slightly between 1999 and 2003. These findings are of relevance to all jurisdictions introducing new coding systems, because they demonstrate a phenomenon of improved administrative data accuracy that may relate to a coding 'learning curve' with the new coding system.
    BMC Health Services Research 08/2011; 11(1):194. DOI:10.1186/1472-6963-11-194 · 1.71 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Changes in clinical practice and in the characteristics of childbearing women have the potential to influence the rate of obstetric anal sphincter injuries (OASIS). To date, little investigation has been undertaken to assess the effect of risk factor trends for the Australian population on OASIS rates. To ascertain the OASIS rates amongst singleton vaginal births ≥37 weeks gestation in NSW, 2001 - 2009; to determine risk factor effect sizes and trends; and to compare predicted with observed OASIS rates. Using two linked population-based data sets, risk factors for OASIS were determined by logistic regression. Contingency tables and predictive modelling were used to determine trends and predicted rates of OASIS, respectively. The OASIS rate increased from 2.2% in 2001 to 2.9% in 2009. Highest risks were for forceps deliveries without episiotomy (primiparas aOR 6.10, multiparas aOR 6.15), followed by multiparas with no previous vaginal birth (aOR 5.61). High birthweight, vacuum delivery and Asian country of birth posed risks for all women. The greatest risk factor trends were increases in Asian country of birth and vacuum delivery, while the greatest trend amongst protective factors was an increase in maternal age ≥35 years for primiparas. Predicted OASIS rates were lower than observed rates. In an environment of changing demographic and clinical risk factors, the OASIS rate has increased. This increase is only minimally explained by the identified risk factors and may be related to other unmeasured risk factors or a possible increase in clinical ascertainment and/or documentation of OASIS.
    Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 02/2013; 53(1):9-16. DOI:10.1111/ajo.12038 · 1.51 Impact Factor