Occurrence reporting is not new to Eastern Health or to the healthcare field in this country and others. Occurrence reports are one of the quality assurance tools used to assist with identifying and addressing issues which can impact on service delivery. Reporting of occurrences, such as adverse events, is a well established process that has helped to make improvements in all types of services.
A Canadian study in 2004 (by Baker and Norton) reported that 7.5% of all hospital admissions resulted in an adverse event. Adverse events are just one type of occurrence that gets reported in health care. There are also other types of situations that all staff members are encouraged to report regardless of where they work.
Emergency departments are known to be busy, complex, and high-risk areas of health services delivery. For example, in 2007/08 there were over 75,000 visits to the Adult Emergency Departments in St John's. In that year, there were 190 occurrences reported and followed up. The occurrences involved a variety of situations such as falls, aggression of patients, clinical safety issues, equipment problems, close calls and elopements. An occurrence does not mean that an adverse event occurred. Eastern Health's goal is to improve reporting and quality of care which ultimately makes healthcare safer.
* There are no ER benchmarks for wait times in Canada, but the average ER wait time in the United Kingdom is 4 hours.