Implementing and evaluating a Web -based close call reporting system at an urban hospital

Richard Jimenez, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Medical errors and close calls are pervasive in health care. It is hypothesized that the causes of close calls are the same as for medical errors; therefore learning about close calls can help prevent errors and increase patient safety. Yet despite efforts to encourage close call reporting, close calls as well as medical errors are under-reported in health care. The purpose of this dissertation was to implement and evaluate a web-based anonymous close call reporting system in three units at an urban hospital. The study participants were physicians, nurses and medical technicians (N = 187) who care for patients in the Medical Intermediate Care Unit, the Surgical Intermediate Care Unit, and the Coronary Catheterization Laboratory in the hospital. We provided educational information to the participants on how to use the system and e-mailed and delivered paper reminders to report to the participants throughout the 19-month project. We surveyed the participants at the beginning and at the end of the study to assess their attitudes and beliefs regarding incident reporting. We found that the majority of the health care providers in our study are supportive of incident reporting in general but in practice very few had actually reported an error or a close call, semi-structured interview 20 weeks after we made the close call reporting system available. The purpose of the interviews was to further assess the participants' attitudes regarding incident reporting and the reporting system. Our findings suggest that the health care providers are supportive of medical error reporting in general, but are not convinced of the benefit of reporting close calls. Barriers to close call reporting cited include lack of time, heavy workloads, preferring to take care of close calls "on the spot", and not seeing the benefits of close call reporting. Consequently only two = close calls were reported via the system by two separate caregivers during the project. The findings suggest that future efforts to increase close call reporting must address barriers to reporting, especially the belief among care givers that it is not worth taking time from their already busy schedules to report close calls.

Subject Area

Public health|Health care

Recommended Citation

Jimenez, Richard, "Implementing and evaluating a Web -based close call reporting system at an urban hospital" (2005). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3198332.