Financial incentive boosts patient safety reporting by medical trainees

Patient safety reporting increased as a result of an academic training program that created a financial incentive for residents and fellows who reported at least two safety events per year, a study published in the Journal of Graduate Medical Education found.

The Duke University Hospital study aimed to increase error reporting by residents and fellows through a financial incentive of about $200 to report at least two safety events annually. The researchers tracked and measured safety event reporting starting in the 2014-2015 academic year. 

Baseline data for the year before launching the incentive program showed less than 0.5 percent (74 of 16,498) of safety reports were submitted by trainees, compared to 1,288 reports (7 percent of institutional reports) by trainees in 2014-2015. More than half of eligible trainee physicians received the incentive.

In 2015-2016 and 2016-2017, the researchers found the report submission rate from the incentive program was sustained, with 1,234 and 1,350 reports submitted by trainees, respectively.

"An incentive program as part of a larger effort to address safety events is feasible and resulted in increased reporting by trainees," the researchers concluded.

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