Objective: To increase patient safety event reporting in three intensive care units (ICUs) using a new voluntary card-based event reporting system and to compare and evaluate observed differences in reporting among healthcare workers across ICUs.
Design: Prospective, single-center, interventional study.
Setting: A medical ICU (19 beds), surgical ICU (24 beds), and cardiothoracic ICU (17 beds) at a 1,371-bed urban teaching hospital.
Patients: Adult patients admitted to these three study ICUs.
Interventions: Use of a new, internally designed, card-based reporting program to solicit voluntary anonymous reporting of medical errors and patient safety concerns.
Measurements and main results: During a 14-month period, 714 patient safety events were reported using a new card-based reporting system, reflecting a significant increase in reporting compared with pre-intervention Web-based reporting (20.4 reported events/1,000 patient days pre-intervention to 41.7 reported events/1,000 patient days postintervention; rate ratio, 2.05; 95% confidence interval, 1.79-2.34). Nurses submitted the majority of reports (nurses, 67.1%; physicians, 23.1%; other reporters, 9.5%); however, physicians experienced the greatest increase in reporting among their group (physicians, 43-fold; nurses, 1.7-fold; other reporters, 4.3-fold) relative to pre-intervention rates. There were significant differences in the reporting of harm by job description: 31.1% of reports from nurses, 36.2% from other staff, and 17.0% from physicians described events that did not reach/affect the patient (p = .001); and 33.9% of reports from physicians, 27.2% from nurses, and 13.0% from other staff described events that caused harm (p = .005). Overall reported patient safety events per 1,000 patient days differed by ICU (medical ICU = 55.5, cardiothoracic ICU = 25.3, surgical ICU = 40.2; p < .001).
Conclusions: This card-based reporting system increased reporting significantly compared with pre-intervention Web-based reporting and revealed significant differences in reporting by healthcare worker and ICU. These differences may reveal important preferences and priorities for reporting medical errors and patient safety events.