The attributes of medical event-reporting systems: experience with a prototype medical event-reporting system for transfusion medicine

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1998 Mar;122(3):231-8.


Objective: To design, develop, and implement a prototype medical event-reporting system for use in transfusion medicine to improve transfusion safety by studying incidents and errors.

Methods: The IDEALS concept of design was used to identify specifications for the event-reporting system, and a Delphi and subsequent nominal group technique meetings were used to reach consensus on the development of the system. An interdisciplinary panel of experts from aviation safety, nuclear power, cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence, and education and representatives of major transfusion medicine organizations participated in the development process. Setting.- Three blood centers and three hospital transfusion services implemented the reporting system.

Results: A working prototype event-reporting system was recommended and implemented. The system has seven components: detection, selection, description, classification, computation, interpretation, and local evaluation. Its unique features include no-fault reporting initiated by the individual discovering the event, who submits a report that is investigated by local quality assurance personnel and forwarded to a nonregulatory central system for computation and interpretation.

Conclusions: An event-reporting system incorporated into present quality assurance and risk management efforts can help organizations address system structural and procedural weakness where the potential for errors can adversely affect health care outcomes. Input from the end users of the system as well as from external experts should enable this reporting system to serve as a useful model for others who may develop event-reporting systems in other medical domains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Transfusion*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / methods
  • Risk Management / methods*
  • Risk Management / standards