Receptionists Training / The Incident Report Form


INCIDENT REPORT FORM

Following on from my previous blog:  Dealing with a Complaint. http://wp.me/p1zPRQ-6g

I would recommend any complaint that you receive no matter how small that you record it in some way.
Complaints often have a habit of coming back at you weeks down the line and can often leave you unable to give an accurate account of the incident.  A complaints form is completed  by the person making the complaint  i.e the customer/patient. The Incident Report Form is completed by a member of your staff to give an accurate account of what happened.

When I was a manager I devised a form to go with each “incident” that might have occurred in the Surgery. The form would be completed by the member of staff that was involved in the initial incident.

I use the word “Incident” as this form was not just used for people who wanted to make a complaint – we used to have appropriate “complaints forms” that customers/patients could complete themselves.  The incident form was purely for staff – and an incident could cover so many things – but the idea behind it was to bring awareness that something had happened – and needed to be discussed and at times a procedure put in place for it not to happen again. Sometimes, not often an “incident” could turn into a “complaint”

It was difficult at first to get staff to complete these forms – they seen it as “another job that had to be done”.  But far from it this form was to give an accurate account of what happened at the time of the incident, and to have it logged in case it was needed at a future date.  Staff soon got to realise that these forms indeed gave them the change to document the incident as it happened – as sometimes when a complaint was made the “story” could be completely different.

The form itself was very easy to complete – this is basically how it looked

INCIDENT REPORT FORM                        (Form number)

Incident Date………………………………      Incident Time……………………………………..

Place of Incident…………………………………………………………………………………………………

Name of Person/Persons Involved in Incident………………………………………………..

Contact Details of Person involved in Incident………………………………………………..

Brief Summary of Incident……………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Signed ……………………………………………………….   Print Name…………………………………..

Position………………………………………………………  Dated…………………………………………….

It was important to record the date and the time of the incident, and also the place of the incident, i.e. Reception Area, Doctors Surgery, Car Park etc. Contact details were also very important – telephone numbers were always the best contact and then address. I found it was always helpful to speak to someone first and then to follow-up the conversation/solution with a letter.  I always found this a good way of defusing what could sometimes be a difficult situation.

As a Manager getting a “complaint” from a customer is sometime the first you will get to know of the incident. They might sometime complain about the attitude of a staff  member or want to complain about one of the Doctors or someone else in the healthcare team. All I had was the customer’s side of the story. I would then go down and speak to the member of staff involved in the incident and this could often lead to anger or resentment because they felt that they (the staff member) they were being “blamed” for the incident when in fact the story was not entirely correct. Trying to deal with any angry member
of staff is not good – they feel that you are accusing them of the incident when in fact all you are trying to do is get a clear picture of the incident.

WHAT TO DO WITH THE FORM WHEN IT HAS BEEN COMPLETED

It is important to have the form as soon as possible after the incident has occurred. If necessary give the staff member time out from their work station to complete the form. It is important to get the details down while the incident if fresh in their minds. Also get them to include in the form if there were other member of staff that could witness the incident.

I sometimes found it easier if the staff member sat beside me and I typed out the incident as they recalled it.

You need to log the incident. Keep a file for the Incident Reports.  Number each incident form. This way you can keep a record of each form.

You need to decide if the incident is a complaint or just an incident. If it is a complaint you need to contact the person concerned and discuss the complaint with them and deal with it appropriately.  With an Incident you need to decide if you need to contact anyone or just to record it and discuss at the next staff meeting.

Record every time you deal with the form i.e when you spoke to the member of staff concerned.

If the “Incident” has involved a member of your team i.e Receptionist/Administrator then you need to discuss the form at the next staff meeting.

Go through the form – discuss with staff what could have been done differently – if at all, and if necessary a different policy or procedure can be put into place.

If the “Incident” involves a Doctor at the practice then the Practice Manager needs to address this with the appropriate Doctors.

WHAT BENEFITS DID THE FORM GIVE?

After a while the Receptionist actually seen this as a great support – it gave them a change to give their side to an incident that may have occurred in Reception. Often not coming to anything, but on occasions it actually supported them and showed that they acted correctly in the incident.

By discussing the “Incident Reports” in staff meetings gave opportunity to learn and go forward and for new Receptionists it was a good training of how to deal with “Incidents” at the front desk.

But what did come from it was that we started using the form for “nicer incidents” that might have occurred in the Surgery. A patient to the surgery might have given a nice complement, or a visitor might have made a comment that could improve the surgery or the service that we gave  – the girls would often write out a form for discussion t the next meeting – that certainly gave everyone a boost to have a “nice incident” read out.

WHAT DID I GET OUT OF IT?

As a Manager I felt it was a way that I was involved in incidents that had occurred in the Reception Area.

I felt the form gave tremendous support to the Receptionist Staff.

It was a way of ensuring that the same incidents were not occurring over and over again.

They were very useful to use as examples in staff training.

And

The best of all several months after starting the forms in the surgery I had a Receptionist come to my office and thank me for introducing the form. She said that she had been at the Surgery for 5 years and have never felt “supported” in some of the incidents that had occurred in Reception – and now the form was being used that she and the other Receptionists now felt that they had an opportunity to give over their side of the story.

For me it certainly was a Job worth doing.

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