The Australian incident monitoring study: An analysis of 2000 incident reports

R. K. Webb, M. Currie, C. A. Morgan, J. A. Williamson, P. Mackay, W. J. Russell, W. B. Runciman

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The Australian Patient Safety Foundation was formed in 1987; it was decided to set up and co-ordinate the Australian Incident Monitoring Study as a function of this Foundation; 90 hospitals and practices joined the study. Participating anaesthetists were invited to report on an anonymous and voluntary basis any unintended incident which reduced, or could have reduced, he safety margin for a patient. Any incident could be reported, not only those which were deemed 'preventable' or were thought to involve human error. The Mark I AIMS form was developed which incorporated features and concepts from several other studies. All the incidents in this symposium were reported using this form, which contains general instructions to the reporter, key words and space for a narrative of the incident, structured sections for what happened (with subsections for circuitry incidents, circuitry involved, equipment involved, pharmacological incidents and airway incidents), why it happened (with subsections for factors contributing to the incident, factors minimising the incident and suggested corrective strategies), the type of anaesthesia and procedure monitors in use, when and where the incident happened, the experience of the personnel involved, patient age and a classification of patient outcome. Enrolment, reporting and data-handling procedures are described. Data on patient outcome are presented; this is correlated with the stages at which the incident occurred and with the ASA status of the patients. The locations at which the incidents occurred and the types of procedures, the sets of incidents analysed in detail and a breakdown of the incidents due to drugs are also presented. The pattern and relative frequencies of the various categories of incidents are similar to those in 'closed-claims' studies suggesting that AIMS should provide information of relevance to those wishing to develop strategies to reduce the incidence and/or impact of incidents and accidents.

Number of pages9
JournalAnaesthesia and intensive care
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Anaesthesia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

Cite this

Webb, R. K., Currie, M., Morgan, C. A., Williamson, J. A., Mackay, P., Russell, W. J., & Runciman, W. B. (1993). The Australian incident monitoring study: An analysis of 2000 incident reports. Anaesthesia and intensive care, 21(5), 520-528.