It’s challenging enough for a hospital or department to set up an adequate adverse event-reporting program, and compared to individual or small group practices, they have far more resources. So what’s a beleaguered solo or small-group practitioner to do about adverse event reporting? “It’s very difficult,” said Rahul Shah, MD, associate surgeon-in-chief and associate professor of otolaryngology and pediatrics at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. “You don’t have the time or the staff to set up something major.” But you do have options. Dr. Shah recommended the following:
Explore this issue:April 2012
- Don’t reinvent the wheel. The Joint Commission, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), and the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery all have a wealth of patient safety and adverse event reporting resources available on their websites:
- Borrow from your local hospital. “A lot of people don’t know this, but many hospitals have robust patient safety programs with staff trained in quality improvement methodologies who would be happy to share their expertise with you,” Dr. Shah said. “Try setting up a half-hour or hour-long meeting with some of those folks about what to do in your office.”
- Adopt the “PDSA” method. This stands for Plan, Do, Study, Act. “Pick a small project you want to do, an intervention that you want to put in place,” Dr. Shah said. “Do that intervention, study how well it works, and then act based on your results.” For example, if your practice is deficient in logging tests ordered and results received, choose an intervention to target that gap specifically. This particularly helps with staff buy-in because it involves asking your in-house “experts” to identify what they think is going wrong and how it can be fixed.
- Don’t put off action because you’re waiting for more data. “The quality improvement cycle is like driving on the highway,” Dr. Shah said. “You have to act based on the information you have.”