What is happening in your hospital during the pandemic?
ACEM is running a 'burst' reporting period in EMER for the COVID-19 pandemic, from 21 May to 19 August 2020 (extended from 5 July). We are asking all emergency department health care workers in Australia and New Zealand to anonymously share their experiences so that others can learn from them. Themes relating to recurrent incidents during the pandemic will be analysed and communicated back to stakeholders.
Ready to report? Click the button below. Or see more information.
Letter to ACEM Fellows and trainees from the ACEM President, Dr John Bonning, 21 May 2020
Subject: Help us learn from COVID-19 to improve safety and quality of care
In light of the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our lives and work, we are eager to find out more about your professional experiences, with a view to improving the safety and quality of care provided in the future.
Not only has our professional response to this pandemic involved dealing with patients potentially directly affected by the virus, but it has presented an enormous number of variables to consider and respond to including the delays to “regular care” that occurred because of the drastic changes to the health system in the last three months. These have potentially far-reaching impacts and consequences for our patients, emergency departments and health systems in general now and well into the future.
Clearly there is much to learn.
To this end, ACEM is inviting members and trainees to share their experiences of patient and staff safety incidents experienced during the current pandemic using the Emergency Medicine Events Register (EMER), our anonymous, online incident monitoring system.
By sharing your experiences anonymously, you can help our specialty as a whole benefit from the valuable lessons of this pandemic, and I encourage you to participate.
Unfortunately at this time, legal restrictions mean the EMER is only available to respondents in Australia. We are hopeful that this will be resolved promptly, and will advise as a matter of urgency as soon as New Zealand-based members and trainees can participate.*
Submissions are open from now until Sunday 5 July [extended to 19 August].
What to report?
You are invited to report adverse events, near misses or good saves that relate directly to the pandemic. This might include incidents such as delayed emergency presentations due to fear of attending the hospital, issues related to mental health presentations, problems around equipment and procedures, ED streaming of patients into COVID and non-COVID areas as well as away from ED into single speciality units or back to the community, the use of telemedicine or issues around civility in the workplace.
How to report?
Please visit the EMER website to report an incident between now and Sunday 5 July [extended to 19 August]. The whole process takes less than five minutes.
ACEM is asking members and trainees to anonymously share their experiences so that others can learn from them.
Themes relating to recurrent incidents during the pandemic will be analysed and communicated back to members.
In this way we, as a specialty, can learn from this pandemic. It is hoped that findings can then also be shared with the broader community. Our aim is to improve the safety and quality of care delivered under extraordinary circumstances.
Thank you for your assistance.
Dr John Bonning
* EMER is only available to respondents in Australia, because its status in New Zealand as a Protected Quality Assurance Activity is in the process of renewal with the Ministry of Health. We could not encourage our New Zealand colleagues to participate yet without benefit of the legal protections that this status offers. By contrast, the equivalent legal protection in Australia is currently in force via the Department of Health's Qualified Privilege Scheme. Recent communication from the Ministry of Health has made us optimistic that New Zealand protection will be renewed shortly. As soon as New Zealanders can participate, we will let you know as a matter of urgency.
I am an emergency nurse, Allied Health worker, Patient Service Assistant, cleaner, or any other kind of professional working in an emergency department. Can I report an incident?
We are delighted to receive reports from the whole range of professionals who work in the emergency department, whether they are clinical or support staff. Other workers often notice different aspects of a situation than emergency physicians, or have extra insights to share.
You can specify what kind of worker you are in the field What is your designation?, on the last page of the form. If there are details of the patient's medical care you don't know about, you can leave those fields blank.
What will you do with the data?
After cleansing the data to ensure no identifiable details of individual persons or hospitals remain, we will categorise and analyse it, and prepare a research report. We hope to publish our findings in late 2020, and begin advocating for change where relevant to governments and healthcare services. After the close of the reporting period, please monitor the ACEM COVID-19 website for news on these findings.
What kind of incidents should I report?
You are invited to report adverse events, near misses or good saves that relate directly to the pandemic. This might include incidents such as delayed emergency presentations due to fear of attending the hospital, issues related to mental health presentations, problems around equipment and procedures, ED streaming of patients into COVID and non-COVID areas as well as away from ED into single speciality units or back to the community, the use of telemedicine, or issues around civility in the workplace.
Can I report incidents that happened before the reporting period began?
Yes, and we encourage you to do so. This way, we can get a full picture of what has happened over the course of the pandemic.
What if I report after the end of the reporting period?
Later reports will still be received and analysed as part of our ongoing analysis of all reports made into EMER. However, we cannot guarantee they will be taken into account in our initial published research findings.
What if I can't remember the date of the incident exactly?
This is absolutely fine. You can round the date to the nearest week or month. Please indicate this using the Date is field, which comes right after the date of the incident.
What if I can't remember some of the details of the incident or the patient exactly?
This is absolutely fine. Most of the fields in the incident report are non-compulsory, for this reason. The data in EMER is used more qualitatively than quantitatively. The most important thing is to give as rich and detailed a narrative description of the incident as you can.
How can I find out more about EMER?
Please see About the Project.
What else is ACEM doing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
For latest resources and information, including COVID-19 clinical guidelines for Australian and New Zealand Emergency Departments, see the ACEM COVID-19 website.
What if I have more questions, or I need help?
Please contact us.