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  • International recommendations for national patient safety incident reporting

Mapping review

International recommendations for national patient safety incident reporting systems: a systematic literature search with categorization

Published

In this systematic literature search with categorization, we searched bibliographic databases, reviewed reference lists and citations, and visited relevant organizations’ websites to provide a simple overview of what international recommendations are available for how national patient safety incident reporting systems should be set up.

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In this systematic literature search with categorization, we searched bibliographic databases, reviewed reference lists and citations, and visited relevant organizations’ websites to provide a simple overview of what international recommendations are available for how national patient safety incident reporting systems should be set up.


Downloadable as PDF. In Norwegian. Key messages in English.

About this publication

  • Year: 2022
  • By: Norwegian Institute of Public Health
  • Authors Hafstad E, Ames HMR.
  • ISBN (digital): 978-82-8406-334-8

Key message

The purpose of national patient safety incident reporting systems is to contribute to improving health services. The reporting systems should promote learning and the prevention of new incidents occurring. This is done by investigating what happened, causal factors and causal relationships as well as uncovering the need for corrective measures. Many countries have established national patient safety incident reporting systems. They are structured in different ways. What is best practice?

In this systematic literature search with categorization, we searched bibliographic databases, reviewed reference lists and citations, and visited relevant organizations’ websites to provide a simple overview of what international recommendations are available for how national patient safety incident reporting systems should be set up.

We included 18 publications published between 2000 and 2020. In eleven, the recommendations are based on systems in a specific country (Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Spain, Great Britain and the USA), but are assumed to have relevance beyond national borders. The other seven cover several countries (EU; OECD) or are global.

It is possible that our literature search has not identified all relevant work on the topic. However, with publications from organizations such as the WHO, EU, OECD and recommendations based on long standing systems such as the National Reporting and Learning System in Great Britain, we believe that this overview of international recommendations on national patient safety incident reporting systems is a good starting point for further investigation.