National and regional incident reporting systems for unwanted events in patient care: a systematic review
The purpose of this systematic review was to investigate the effect of national and regional incident reporting systems on serious events in patient care.
All providers of health and social services must work systematically to reduce the risk of adverse events resulting from the provision of services or a lack of provision. Nevertheless, unwanted events of varying severity do occur. It is estimated that an adverse event affects one in ten patients in Norwegian hospitals. Norwegian health service providers are obliged to report serious incidents to the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision (the Board of Health) and The Norwegian Healthcare Investigation Board (NHIB).
The purpose of this systematic review was to investigate the effect of national and regional incident reporting systems on serious events in patient care. The review was intended to inform the Expert group on reporting system for severe adverse events in the health and care services in their evaluation of the incident reporting systems in the Board of Health and NHIB.
We performed systematic literature searches in several databases, and identified 3458 references. We used machine learning in the screening of titles and abstracts, so that the most relevant references were screened first. A total of 35 references were read in full text. We did not find any studies that met our inclusion criteria. We can therefore not conclude if national and regional incident reporting systems affect death, readmission or other serious event in the health and care service.
This work has identified an important knowledge gap in the form of a lack of research in this area. There is a need for well-designed studies that evaluate the effect of general national and/or regional incident report systems on patient safety outcomes.