American Academy of Emergency Medicine

Position Statement on Mandatory Error Reporting

Adopted by AAEM Board of Directors, August 16, 2000

The American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM) supports a national mandatory error reporting system that includes legal liability protections and the following other additional safeguards:

1. Data registry would be managed and analyzed by a non-governmental agency that could be held responsible for any breach of confidentiality. Physicians should be involved in identifying the type of errors to be reported and in the development of the data registry.

2. The identity of providers and institutions reporting or responsible for the error would remain strictly confidential. This would include masking the source of all reported errors to the individuals who would process or analyze the data.

3. All institutions and providers should first and foremost be provided with:

  1. A clear and explicit definition of the categories and the types of errors that are reportable.
  2. A clearly established description of the mechanisms to report and to process medical errors, without the risk of it being handled punitively. Mechanisms should be user-friendly and time-efficient.
  3. Clearly established guidelines delineating how the data will be used and who would be able to access that data, how access would be granted, and who would grant such access or define its limits and extent.
  4. The necessary additional human and financial resources to handle the reporting of such medical errors to the national database.
  5. An analysis of medical errors that also evaluates the board certification status of the physicians.