Managing healthcare risks and complaints on paper is only giving you half the story

April 12, 2016 Stephanie Radcliffe

We can shop for goods, track a flight status and schedule a dinner reservation all online. But when a patient is misdiagnosed, why is this tracked and filed on paper? Hospitals don't have time to wait for such pertinent information to be faxed or mailed around.

When it comes to tracking and managing adverse events, paper-based systems fall short. Sure, it’s a cost-efficient option and it’s easier to set up than a complex software system, but there are drawbacks:

  • They're time consuming and inefficient
  • Paper has limited reporting and trending capabilities 
  • You're likely to get incomplete forms, especially ones missing mandatory fields 
  • It's difficult to decide what information to capture on the form 
  • It's time consuming to modify existing forms 
  • They're easily lost 
  • Paper forms impede a reporting culture

Paper-based systems make it next to impossible for to aggregate all the patient safety data hospitals need. It can take weeks and sometimes months to collect enough information worthy of conducting any kind of analysis.

Here are stories of two healthcare organizations who made the switch from paper to software and simplified their reporting process.

Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital

Grand Itasca used to use a combination of an in-house database and paper forms to report incidents. Lynn Schweiberger, the clinic’s Quality Director, recounts, "When I came in, there were just a bunch of these blue paper forms everywhere. And only one employee knew how to enter the events into the Access system. So when she wasn't there, everything came to a halt. We'd find forms on managers' desks—3, 4, even 5 months later—that were never routed back to the Quality department. It was pretty chaotic."

Grand Itasca has 2000 complaints and events capturedSince Grand Itasca switched to using RL6, the clinic has seen great improvements in its event reporting with almost 2000 complaints and events now captured in the system. For Lynn, RL6 has provided huge cost savings in terms of time. "It used to take us so much time and rework reviewing the paper forms to evaluate whether events had been reported", she says. "With RL6, there's no second guessing." Read case study

Peace Church Compliance Program

Before implementing RL6:Risk, each organization at the Peace Church Compliance Program (PCCP) used a unique paper reporting system. Paper reporting systems make it difficult to capture valuable metrics, such as tracking near misses and ‘good catches’. These metrics allow organizations to be proactive about risk management and to develop methodologies to address trends in practices and outcomes.

PCCP’s paper reporting systems weren’t efficient in notifying the Risk Management Coordinator in a timely manner when an incident occurred, and it was difficult to consistently evaluate incident reporting between organizations. Read more

Interested in learning more about RL’s electronic reporting software? Watch the video.


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