May 5, 2009 | Mark Paradies

Error Reporting – How Does Your Facility Rate?

The Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture: 2009 Comparative Database Report has an interesting statistic. On average, 52% of hospital staff surveyed did not report any medical errors in their hospital over a 12-month period. The statistic is based on data from nearly 200,000 hospital staff from 622 hospitals nationwide.

Can an employee really go a year without making any mistakes? Very doubtful. Even with outstanding human performance on an well designed action, a person will make a mistake one in 10,000 tries. More normal performance is one error in 1000 tries.

So what do these stats mean? That errors are largely under-reported.

Before you criticize the medical industry, look at your facility’s statistics. How many error reports did you have last year. How many employees do you have. I’d bet that more than 50% of your employees never report a single error.

Have you ever thought about the costs associated with these unreported, uncorrected errors? It many be more than you think. The problem with under-reporting is that cheap opportunities to improve performance (near-misses) are being missed. Only big errors (to obvious not to be reported) are acted upon. So you have to think not only of the cost of the small errors, but of the cost of the big problems that could have been prevented.

Would you like to improve your near-miss reporting? Then there’s a session by Kevin McManus at the TapRooT® Summit that you need to attend:

“8 Reasons Why People Don’t Report Problems &
8 Solutions to Improve Employee Involvement”

Learn why people don’t report problems and practical things that you can do to improve your error reporting program to make it world-class.

For complete Summit info, see:

And if you would like to learn how to analyze and prevent human errors, attend the Stopping Human Error Course before the TapRooT® Summit on October 5-6. This course is being completely redesigned for 2009 (more about this in later posts) but we know that you will learn practical ways to make major improvements in human performance at your facility. I’ll send you the latest details if you e-mail me by clicking on the “Contact Us” button at the top of the page.

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