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New Reporting System Would Allow Patients to Report Medical Errors

Collecting information about medical mistakes is one of the best ways to prevent them from reoccurring. While the government requires hospitals to report certain errors, there is currently no similar procedure for patients to do the same.

To fill this void, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has proposed a new system that would enable patients or families to report the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has proposed a new system that would enable patients or families to report medical errors that resulted or nearly resulted in harm or injury. medical errors that resulted or nearly resulted in harm or injury.

As detailed by the AHRQ, “Such information is necessary for research on how to improve the quality of health care, promote patient safety, and reduce medical errors. There is a need to collect information about patient safety events from consumers and match these consumer reports to the information collected by providers, because the two sources may differ and, even when reporting on the same event, may provide complementary information.”

The system is currently only in the “prototype” phase, but continues to move through the regulatory process. Under the current framework, the Prototype Consumer Reporting System for Patient Safety (CRSPS) has two parts:

  • Safety event intake form and follow up. The safety event intake form asks about a medical error or mistake, harm or injury as well as near misses. Patients, consumers, family members and other caregivers voluntarily report safety events through a Web site or by telephone. The questions ask what happened, details of the event, when, where, whether there was harm, the type of harm, contributing factors, disclosure, and whether the patient reported the event and to whom. Information is also collected regarding whether the respondent is willing to have CRSPS staff follow up to clarify information. If a respondent consents, CRSPS staff will follow up by phone and ask questions about any information that was not clear in the initial report and annotate the report with this information.
  • Health care provider follow up. For the subset of consumers that consent, patient safety officers at health care provider organizations who maintain the adverse event reporting system will contribute supplemental information about the consumer-reported incident which occurred at their facility. CRSPS staff will contact the health care organization to share the consumer report with the patient safety officer or other appointed liaison. The liaison will determine if the consumer-reported incident matches an event in the provider’s Incident Reporting System, and if so, provide additional information.

As San Diego medical malpractice attorneys, we are pleased that the AHRQ is exploring this untapped resource of valuable information about medical errors. We will be closely monitoring the progress of the project and will provide updates as they become available.