MO-G-BRE-06: Metrics of Success: Measuring Participation and Attitudes Related to Near-Miss Incident Learning Systems




Interest in incident learning systems (ILS) for improving safety and quality in radiation oncology is growing, as evidenced by the upcoming release of the national ILS. However, an institution implementing such a system would benefit from quantitative metrics to evaluate performance and impact. We developed metrics to measure volume of reporting, severity of reported incidents, and changes in staff attitudes over time from implementation of our institutional ILS.


We analyzed 2023 incidents from our departmental ILS from 2/2012–2/2014. Incidents were prospectively assigned a near-miss severity index (NMSI) at multidisciplinary review to evaluate the potential for error ranging from 0 to 4 (no harm to critical). Total incidents reported, unique users reporting, and average NMSI were evaluated over time. Additionally, departmental safety attitudes were assessed through a 26 point survey adapted from the AHRQ Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture before, 12 months, and 24 months after implementation of the incident learning system.


Participation in the ILS increased as demonstrated by total reports (approximately 2.12 additional reports/month) and unique users reporting (0.51 additional users reporting/month). Also, the average NMSI of reports trended lower over time, significantly decreasing after 12 months of reporting (p<0.001) but with no significant change at months 18 or 24. In survey data significant improvements were noted in many dimensions, including perceived barriers to reporting incidents such as concern of embarrassment (37% to 18%; p=0.02) as well as knowledge of what incidents to report, how to report them, and confidence that these reports were used to improve safety processes.


Over a two-year period, our departmental ILS was used more frequently, incidents became less severe, and staff confidence in the system improved. The metrics used here may be useful for other institutions seeking to create or evaluate their own incident learning systems.