Background: In September 2000 University of Missouri Health Care (MUHC) conducted an assessment of patient safety activities. At least six separate data systems for reporting adverse events, with multiple conflicting paper reports, were found during this analysis. The disparate nature of these systems and their inability to be linked ensured that few systemic prevention activities were undertaken. In January 2001 an interdisciplinary team was convened with the goal of creating a comprehensive approach to patient safety reporting and resolution.
Implementation: A secure, Web-based system, the MUHC Patient Safety Network System (PSN), was created that allows staff, physicians, patients, families, and visitors to report comments, adverse events, and near-miss events from any computer in the hospital and from home, using the Internet. Anonymous reporting is an option for near-miss events. Reports are immediately available to department managers responsible for resolution; managers are alerted to the presence of a report by e-mail. As a result, a pilot study performed in two MUHC intensive care units documented dramatic reductions in resolution time using the PSN. The pilot also demonstrated an increased willingness to report by physicians and respiratory therapists. Training was accomplished in the fall of 2001, and the PSN was successfully implemented throughout the hospital on January 1, 2002.
Next steps: Implementation of the PSN has recently been extended to all ambulatory care settings. An additional component of the PSN that is being built will allow physicians to report complications.