ONC Launches the Reporting Safety Events Challenge

This challenge addresses a stark reality centered on hospitals struggling to increase internal incident reporting — a major reason being the busyness of care providers. Daily, hospital workers fight to create effective systems for the quality and risk management staff to complete root cause analyses and follow-ups, which are required by both the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Joint Commission. However, their efforts are not always effective.

On top of that, it is said that quality and risk management staff suffer from reporting fatigue in a paper-based reporting system, which affects reporting frequency and quality. All of their energy is exuded in trying to convince physicians and nurses to report incidents (not just talk about them in the halls), and asking that they do a thorough investigation to fill out the appropriate forms to fax them to the appropriate agencies.

To allow progression of our understanding of patient safety issues, it is vital to innovate beyond the existing tools so that a fresh system will collect and analyze information that characterizes patient safety events in a standardized, discrete, and measurable way.

This ideal system must increase the rate of reporting of patient safety events and improve the quality of the reported data, leverage existing health information technology (HIT) to eliminate duplicate data entry, as well as transcription and transposition errors. It must also analyze patient safety event data to provide useful reports and actionable information to providers and PSOs. Meeting these parameters will serve to benefit and improve the issues with patient safety and incident reporting tremendously.

Through the deployment of a new and effective software reporting solution, many of these incident-reporting concerns would be moderately assuaged. That is what the ONC is asking developers to solve in launching the Reporting Safety Events Challenge. Judges will be looking for a solution that can alleviate the process of filing a report electronically using Common Formats for any qualified individual, but allow additional elements and narratives. It must permit the hospital quality and risk management staff to add information from follow-up investigations, submit reports as appropriate to PSOs, the state, or the FDA (which may differ, and need to be tracked separately), as well as track follow-up activities.

Submissions for the challenge are due on August 31, 2012. The first place team will win $50,000 plus ademo opportunity at a leading healthcare conference. The second and third place teams will receive awards of $15,000 and $5,000, respectively..

To learn more, visit the Reporting Patient Safety Events Challenge webpage and join the Google group to stay up to date on new challenge announcements. By joining the google group, teams will be able to exchange questions, comments, and form partnerships during the challenge submission period.