Improving Incident Reporting: There’s an App for That

June 30, 2020

Internal reporting app, designed for radiologists, increased provider participation and captured incidents in a greater number of categories.

A custom-designed app made specifically for radiologists can successfully encourage providers to submit reports of incidents that could negatively impact patient safety, workflow, and quality, according to research presented at SIIM2020.

Historically, incident reports have been largely submitted by radiology technologists. To broaden participation in submitting these reports, researchers from Thomas Jefferson University Sidney Kimmel Medical College created an internal incident and issue reporting app to not only capture more episodes, but to also increase radiologist involvement with the hopes of acting upon issues within six months.

“Customized reporting tools are a useful supplement to existing systems to capture issues that may impact quality and workflow, may have downstream effects on patient safety, and may otherwise go unreported,” investigators said. “A custom application built for radiologists can increase their engagement in the reporting process, by providing a tool for discussing and resolving latent but important issues.”

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Their six-month intervention proved the new tool could successfully reach that goal. According to their analysis, radiologist involvement spiked from 5 percent prior to the tool launch to 97 percent of all submissions. They, consequently, accounted for 46 percent of all submissions across both the enterprise and internal tools.

The findings also showed several other positive outcomes. While the existing enterprise tool collected roughly the same number of incident reports (215 pre-launch and 203 post-launch), the internal tool received an additional 168 submissions – a 72-percent increase. Additionally, submissions via the new tool spanned seven categories with a 62-percent rise in the types of issues captured. Workflow, protocol, IT, and communications issues were the most frequently reported.

By the end of the six-month intervention, 37 percent of reports submitted via the internal app had been either triaged or resolved.

The research team collected their data from March 1, 2019, to Sept. 1, 2019 via the new mobile-friendly app. Radiology staff voluntarily submitted confidential and optionally anonymous reports. The team compared pre- and post-launch data for the number of submissions, incident categories, severity scores, and staff roles. In addition, they took steps to ensure the new tool did not replace the existing enterprise system, and they sent out reminders for the staff and providers to use the app, encouraged user engagement through a feedback loop, created a volunteer committee to resolve submissions.