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  • Medical Event Reporting System (MERS)

  • Rhode Island, The Miriam, Newport and Bradley hospitals participate in a statewide Medical Event Reporting System(MERS). This web-based system is a very important tool as we continue to enhance our culture of safety. MERS gives us more tools and information to help fulfill our quest to be among the safest hospitals in the country. 


    Staff members identify many patient safety events, such as falls, medication errors, communication problems and equipment issues. Many also report "near misses," or "good catches," which help prevent errors before they happen, but all staff members have the authority and responsibility to report patient safety events or potentially unsafe conditions. All staff and clinicians are expected to learn how to report events, near misses or unsafe conditions through MERS. MERS gives us more complete data to spot trends earlier.

    The MERS product was developed by a team at Columbia University, through a grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). It has some of the same features as our previous occurrence reporting system, but also allows structured feedback and gives clinical personnel more ownership and involvement in the process. It also ties into the new statewide Patient Safety Organization (PSO). Rhode Island will be the first state in the country to have all hospitals using common terminology and forms on the same system.

    Mary Cooper, MD, JD, and Joan Flynn, vice president for risk management, are co-chairing the new Lifespan Event Management Council, which is initially charged with MERS implementation and will then look at trends and best practices. The council has representation from pharmacy, nursing, risk, quality, communications, other clinical departments, IT, and MERS project leads for each hospital.