Evaluation of IIMS education and training and health professionals' experience of web-based IIMS training for incident reporting

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The study of a State-wide electronic incident management system such as the Incident Information Management System (IIMS) in New South Wales (NSW) and electronic reporting of incidents is a relatively under-researched area. Educating health professionals in incident reporting is critical to the success of electronic incident reporting systems. Web-based training for IIMS incident reporting was introduced to NSW Public Health Organisations (PHOs) in 2004 as the main mode of training for IIMS. In this study, training programs provided in the use of IIMS were reviewed and health professionals’ perceptions of web-based IIMS training were explored. This study was undertaken at a metropolitan Area Health Service (AHS) in NSW. Data were collected, analysed and triangulated from the following sources: participant observation of IIMS face-to-face training; interviews with key stakeholders of IIMS; analysis of web-based IIMS training and video training material; log-file analysis of IIMS training database; administration of a purpose- built questionnaire to health professionals who undertook web-based IIMS training; and interviews with non-participants of web-based IIMS training. Although web-based training is the official training program to educate health professionals to report incidents into the electronic IIMS, training was delivered through other media such as face-to-face presentations and video. Evaluation of the training programs reveals that training programs were well structured and highly regarded by health professionals in the metropolitan AHS where this study was conducted. However, questionnaire data show that: health professionals prefer a blended training package; training has not had a significant impact on reporting of incidents; and training has not contributed to an increase in the number of incidents reported in the metropolitan AHS where this study was conducted. The study uncovered low attendance numbers at web-based IIMS training and its under-utilisation. Both the web-based IIMS training attendance numbers and the incident notification numbers on IIMS imply that: nursing and midwifery health professionals have the highest attendance numbers and are the major reporters of incidents on IIMS and; it is difficult to involve medical professionals to participate in patient safety initiatives and to undertake training for such activities. Reporting of incidents by medical health professionals is vital since many incidents are beyond the scope of nursing health professionals. In conclusion, health professionals working in PHOs play a key role in the adoption of the electronic IIMS incident reporting system and reporting of incidents into the system. It will be imperative to increase the computer self-efficacy of all health professionals for the success of this and future web-based training programs; and to increase awareness of incident reporting systems and training programs particularly for IIMS incident reporting. Health systems will benefit by integrating training on information technology and data systems into both pre- and post- registration curricula for all health professionals.
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