The healthcare industry is continuously evolving and adapting to changes brought on by updates to regulatory requirements, technology advancements and current events––the most relevant example today being the COVID-19 global pandemic. These changes impact nearly every aspect of a healthcare organisation including its incident management efforts. Incident management helps organisations learn from a wide variety of events ranging from serious incidents to near misses in order to make internal improvements to promote better care for patients. Staying up to date with how incident management is continuing to evolve will be a key component of promoting a culture of safety across healthcare organisations. To help you stay prepared for these changes, we’re highlighting the top five defining features of incident management in 2020.
Cultivating an Open and Just Culture
When an adverse event occurs, it’s important for staff to feel empowered to report the event so that the organisation can learn from the incident and put in place action steps to prevent it from happening again. Historically, this has not been the predominant perspective among healthcare teams. Staff can fear that a punitive approach will result in their punishment for the event that has occurred. When healthcare professionals have this mindset, it perpetuates a culture of fear and reduces staff’s willingness to report events. Therefore, it’s critical for organisations to adopt an Open and Just Culture where fair accountability is the primary way to address incidents. It is important to note that a Just Culture is not a blame-free environment where staff are permitted to violate rules and regulations. In this context, individuals are not blamed for system failures. Instead, this culture shifts the focus to clearly establish an organisation’s values and encourages individuals to demonstrate supportive behaviour. The Communication and Optimal Resolution (CANDOR) toolkit supports healthcare organisations in moving towards an Open and Just Culture. Following an adverse event, CANDOR helps organisations promote an open and honest approach to communication with families, patients and providers.
Capturing Near Misses and Incidents
As healthcare continues to face new challenges, it is crucial that organisations adopt tools that help them capture a variety of events including near misses and incidents in a standardised format. Near misses help organisations understand the level of openness within their culture and they also provide them with an opportunity to gain learnings before an incident takes place. When a healthcare organisation has a system in place to capture near misses, they are better positioned to provide safe care and reduce organisational costs. Having a tool in place to support these efforts not only provides an organised platform to record near misses and incidents but also helps care teams identify areas for improvement. When staff are equipped with tools that streamline incident management processes, they are empowered to report concerns that can protect patients from harm. The RLDatix software helps organisations achieve this with customisable forms that are dynamic and intelligent, helping frontline staff take part in contributing to a culture of safety.
Improving Communication with Automation
Incident management in 2020 will continue to move towards increasing automation to streamline healthcare organisations’ safety processes. RLDatix supports this with automated notifications of events reported, allowing staff to focus on quality of care rather than time consuming manual processes. When an adverse event occurs, it is important that effective and efficient communication stay top of mind for healthcare providers. Organisations should also have systems in place that support workflows to alert users when to respond to patients and families who have been affected by incidents. Additionally, the actions required should be standardised across the organisation to help ensure all patients, families and staff receive a professional and empathetic response.
RLDatix’s automation capabilities include intelligent alerts and notifications that support better communication between healthcare organisations and patients and families during an adverse event. Manual forms or incident management systems that are not built with robust automation slow down staff’s care efforts and put them at risk of losing track of important information. Data within the RLDatix software can be intelligently linked to support better risk management, evidence-based learning reviews and support operational management of incidents. In just a few clicks, organisations can understand if an incident has also generated a complaint or claim, supporting a better experience for patients, families and staff involved in an incident. To support effective reporting efforts, it is also beneficial to utilise a business intelligence tool to better understand data and trends which can help drive quality improvement processes across an organisation. Leveraging the RLDatix business intelligence tool allows for automated reports and alerts which supports providers in identifying areas for improvement. Further, the RLDatix software serves as a tool to gain a better understanding of data and analytics across an organisation, allowing for robust benchmarking capabilities.
Seamless Reporting with Mobile Capabilities
In 2020, incident management efforts are going mobile. As staff are on the move, it is important that they can capture safety events remotely. How can they accomplish this? Care teams should be equipped with tools that allow them to record events and near misses regardless of their location. RLDatix supports increased incident reporting with mobile capabilities that allow staff to submit reports from anywhere. Frontline staff can quickly capture key data around events and near misses to help ensure that important details are documented at the time of the event. Healthcare staff are balancing numerous responsibilities during the day and need tools that are flexible with their schedules. The mobile optimised version of the RLDatix software features quick reporting for events and near misses to help ensure that key incident data can be captured at the time of the event. With RLDatix, staff can submit a full incident report, feedback, claim or mortality review anywhere and at any time.
Implementing a system tailored to your organisation’s needs
When it comes time for a healthcare organisation to produce reports detailing their safety efforts, they should be equipped with tools to make this a seamless process. A tailored system is important to learn from a variety of events that are not necessarily captured in a central system. With RLDatix, organisations have a system in place that is tailored to their unique requirements and offers them assurance that all data related to regulatory reporting is captured and stored securely in a cloud-based system. In just a few clicks, organisations can contribute to national patient safety learning and improvement by scheduling reports to remind quality teams that data is ready to be exported and shared with regulatory systems such as Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), the Chief Inspector of Social Services (CISS) and the Mental Health Commission (MHC). Additionally, when multiple sites use the same system, such as RLDatix, they can leverage the BI tool as an umbrella over all of the systems to compare data and trends.
2020 and Beyond: Continuously Evolving Incident Management
This year has brought many new challenges to the forefront of healthcare. As healthcare teams navigate a changing industry, it is important that their incident management efforts continue to evolve as well. Many opportunities exist for healthcare providers to enhance their incident management efforts. Whether organisations incorporate tools to promote a Just Culture or implement powerful technology solutions to streamline incident reporting, evolving towards effective communication and a culture of safety will carry healthcare organisations into the future of incident management. Moving forward, how and when providers respond to harm events will be a critical component of how healthcare organisations support their continued patient safety efforts. RLDatix’s new framework, Applied Safety Intelligence, aims to move the industry from a retrospective review of adverse events toward a future of proactive prevention, ushering in a new era of future-forward patient safety.