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Voluntary error reporting 'best'

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Voluntary reporting of mistakes made while caring for very sick newborns is more effective than compulsory reporting, according to Dutch researchers.

Voluntary reporting of mistakes made while caring for very sick newborns is more effective than compulsory reporting, according to Dutch researchers.

They looked at ten studies on incident reporting in neonatal intensive care. The most common errors reported were connected to prescribing or administering drugs.

The authors found most of the studies indicated that voluntary reporting boosted the number of incidents filed compared to compulsory systems. The rate of medication error reports was around 13 times higher in voluntary systems.

The authors said: 'Assessing the impact of preventive strategies on patient safety remains a challenge. Although voluntary reporting systems increase the number of reports, under reporting is still likely.'

Archives of Disease in Childhood (2007) www.adc.bmj.com

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