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Utah and Minnesota Incident Reporting Requirements Essay

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Updated: Apr 12th, 2022

Review of the Utah and Minnesota Incident reporting mandates

Hospitals throughout the United States have ubiquitous incident reporting practices, with those in Utah and Minnesota, as well as many other states in the United States having particular mandatory reporting structures and systems that they follow. Those covered by Utah’s mandatory reporting rules are licensed hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers located in the state. In Minnesota, hospitals are required to disclose any of 28 specified events as defined by State Statutes.

Different states have different criteria for determining whether an incident is ready to be reported. The criteria focus on the level of harm caused to the patient. In addition, there might be guidelines about reporting the same case in other states. Overall, all states will report incidents, according to the event, the patient involved, the result coming out of the root-cause analysis, and corrective action plans intended or taken, as well as any qualifying risk reduction strategy.

Both Minnesota and Utah use the National Qualify Forum (NQF). The NQF has a list of serious reportable events, including surgical, product, or device events, protection events, care management events, environmental events, and criminal events.

Utah reporting rules call for a description of the incident, the root cause analysis, and action plans. Institutions make reports annually. Thus, there is an aggregation process taking place throughout the year before the hospitals compile the final reports.

By extension, nurses and physicians in charge of patients will report incidences. While other practitioners may contribute the information collected and eventually reported, only the nurse, pharmacist, or physician in charge of a patient will certify the information given (NAHSP, 2013).

States motivate hospitals to report their incidents by ensuring that reported data remains protected from improper disclosure. In addition, there are monetary penalties imposed on institutions that do not comply with state guidelines on reporting. The legislation ensures that patient information and the identity of the professional who is reporting remain confidential. At the same, when hospitals are dealing with patient safety, they set limits on the extent of sharing information by putting appropriate restrictions on voluntary sharing (Healy, 2011). There is also the use of standardized formats for reporting to ensure that only the necessary information is collected and disseminated. With standardization, it is possible to code information appropriately to maintain its confidentiality.

In Utah, reporting involves root-cause analysis, which focuses on staff education, new or revised policy, and communication among the members of the healthcare team, physician education, and new or revised procedures (NAHSP, 2013).

Discussion of whether a voluntary or mandatory incident reporting effort is the best

Mandatory reporting is rigid. For example, in Utah and Minnesota, the required NQF list may not capture all the events worth reporting. On the other hand, the mandatory nature of reporting on the root cause analysis does not reflect the difference in hospitals’ ability to perform the required procedures. Therefore, reports can create a false impression to auditors when they fail to include resource differences. Nevertheless, mandatory reports avoid negligence and assign roles to reporters.

Voluntary reports rely on those who are involved in events to do the reporting, which involves giving all the relevant information required by the authorities. Meanwhile, mandatory reporting requires the practitioner in charge of a patient to make the report. The practitioner is typically the nurse, physician or pharmacist. The process of compulsory reporting is active, requiring the participation of all those involved in the event at the time of reporting. However, voluntary reporting remains passive throughout by simply being a surveillance feature that does not interfere with standard, patient and nurse or physician procedures.

A supportive environment helps the health institution to set up an efficient reporting system. Moreover, the privacy of the workers has to be maintained at all times. Reports need to go to a broad range of personnel who will interact with summaries and full details of reports and communicate them fast and accurately to other stakeholders. Lastly, with a structured mechanism, reviewing and planning for intervention can occur with ease (Haynes & Thomas, 2005).

Most mandatory reporting systems are paper-based or web-based, and they require privileged access to the system to report. They are, therefore, only limited to particular employees. On the other hand, voluntary reporting encourages responses from diverse users. In addition to mimicking formal systems, voluntary reports can also come through a variety of informal channels. Thus, in terms of safeguarding the reporter’s anonymity, the voluntary system works better than the mandatory one (Kalra, 2011).

States require specific statutes to govern the legality of the compulsory reporting system. However, there are no state restrictions for voluntary reporting because the governing rules do not require state statutes. Thus, a person in Utah can rely on the same standards and guidelines adopted by users in other states, such as Minnesota. In fact, there is a national reporting and learning system that supports a nationwide voluntary event reporting system across the United States. The system contributes immensely to the research and development of better medication, procedures, and personnel approaches for medical staff (Evans & Berry, 2006). To sum up, voluntary reporting works better than mandatory reporting because of the scale, adaptability, and user privacy concerns.


Evans, S. M., & Berry, J. G. (2006). Attitudes and barriers to incident reporting: A collaborative hospital study. Qual Saf Health Care, 15, 39-43.

Haynes, K., & Thomas, M. (2005). Clinical risk management in primary care. Oxon, UK: Radcliffe Publishing Ltd.

Healy, J. (2011). Improving healthcare and safety quality. Surrey, UK: England.

Kalra, J. (2011). Medical errors and patient safety. Berlin, Germany: Hubert & Co GmbH.

NAHSP. (2013). Adverse event reporting tools by State. Web.

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