Nov 26, 2020 in Coursework

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Incident Reporting Systems


An incident report refers to a confidential document that explains any irregularities that led to a patient's, member of staff, or visitor's safety mismanagement, which has adverse consequences. Therefore, incident reporting systems collect and record information on safety concerns to prevent repeat occurrences in the future. Commonly used are the mandatory reporting incident reporting system and the voluntary incident reporting system. This aims at ensuring that institutions are safe.

Utah versus Minnesota Incident Reporting Mandates

Utah Incident Reporting

Utah incident reporting has developed a reporting program that addresses serious patient injuries. These include injuries that may have led to patient death or caused physical harm. These are unrelated to the original ailment that resulted in the initial hospitalization of a patient. It advocates for the process of investigation and response to these occurrences through an independent external review of the process (Utah Department of Administrative Services, 2013). The reporting framework focuses on the credibility of the process to ensure that each issue is addressed as anticipated. It helps health care providers understand accident patterns in the health care system and recommend the way forward. The information is confidential and, therefore, not accessible to any person.

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It is advised that the medical practitioner responsible for the sentinel event makes an immediate report to the heads of department. Those that were entrusted to provide the medical care to the patient must be first to report the incident, and they have a time limit of three days to do so. Under no circumstances should the patient or the top management file for a sentinel event. This will lead to negative publicity, and the reputation of the institution will be destroyed as they are considered negligent. The report should include information about patients, facility attended, description of what happened, type of incident, the medical practitioner's analysis, and corrective measure used. This information helps during the investigation process.

An incident facility is responsible for the investigations carried out. This facility is set aside to address matters of adverse incidents independently. At the hospital level, the department responsible for the incident investigates its own. The results from the two investigators should be along the same line before a report is submitted.

Minnesota Incident Reporting

Unlike Utah incident reporting where the information is confidential, Minnesota provides health care consumers with information on the medical institution's measures of preventing adverse events. It acts as an eye for the public and not the institution. It also provides a clear list of 28 incidences that must be reported under this law.

In this case, each facility reports to the commissioner of all the incidents that may bring about safety inconveniences. The commissioner files the information but does not indicate the facilities or medical practitioner's names within the report. The aspect of confidentiality is held as the names are not exposed to the public (Patient Safety Network, 2012). The information given to customers relates to the general aspects of their safety in the health facilities. It also outlines the measures put in place to ensure safety regulations are followed.

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At the hospital level, the management is responsible for the investigations carried out so that they can forward the information to the commissioner for clarification. This is made for ensuring that they can account for the incidences as a facility. Under this law, the time limit for providing information on adverse health care events is no less than 15 days.

Comparison of the Types of Incidents

The incidences that must be reported under the two reporting mandates have been declared by set laws. Utah and Minnesota incident reporting mandates have identified cases that are considered harmful within the health facility.


The surgical events, product or device events, care management events, patient protection events, environmental events, and criminal events are very similar in the cases they report. Both Utah and Minnesota incident reporting systems provide similar incidences that must be reported for investigation. They have provided similar incidents that are reportable under the subdivisions listed.

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The difference arises from the extra subdivisions provided by Minnesota incident reports. These subdivisions include endorsement of electronic reporting and the classification of data about laws other than those stated by the previous subdivisions. These additional subdivisions allow the facility to investigate further for information that may have brought about a hazard within the institutions endangering the safety of the patients.

Steps in Protecting Incident Reports

Incident reports are confidential documents since not everyone is allowed to gain access to them. Protection measures have been put in place to safeguard the health facilities even though Minnesota reports are open to the public. While writing reports under the Minnesota system, the names of the health facilities, medical practitioners, and employees of the institution are not mentioned. They create awareness to the public without having to ruin their facilities. This gives room for improvement in the facility and preventing more damage.

Utah reports are not open to the public. It offers a way for health facilities to benchmark themselves and provide the best health care in a safe environment. Only those involved in the incident, the investigators and law enforcers get to analyze the information while the rest obtain the corrective action plan.

Root Cause Analysis

Root cause analysis is carried out to establish corrective measures after an incident occurs (Patient Safety Network, 2012). This helps facilities to account for their actions. Instead of addressing the incident from an individual's perspective, the focus is on the systems and processes put in place for certain procedures. In this case, it corrects the system for the entire facility and not a few individuals. Root cause analysis traces root problems that cause incidents. As a result, it prevents future similar occurrences (Rosenthal, 2007). During the analysis, patterns of incident occurrences are identified, and systems are adjusted to work better. The analysis helps reduce the chances of serious adverse events occurring repeatedly.

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Mandatory versus Voluntary Incident Reporting System

A voluntary reporting system is desirable as it involves an active process used in collecting information about safety concerns and hazards that are not reflected in the mandatory reporting system. The system is flexible and will provide additional information that was not necessarily within the set standard. Though it may be time-consuming, the process goes into detail and is efficient in detailing the root cause of an incident. It is used by the front desk practitioners who report what happened as they were present when the incident occurred.

A mandatory system has a standard set of rules and is not as flexible and will not go the extra mile to provide more information where necessary. It is strict and follows the stated direction of reporting as provided by the system. Making adjustments is an intense process that proves hectic for the end-user. This system of reporting is normally used by the management who, in most cases, was not present at the time of the incident.


Incident reporting systems are important in addressing safety measures for patients in health facilities. They keep health facilities in check to provide the best health care procedures. It also allows the public a chance to understand what the law provides under certain circumstances where safety measures are concerned.

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