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Reporting of Medical Errors

Reaffirmed April 2014 

Revised June 2008 

Originally approved September 2001


The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) supports a standardized system of medical error reporting for the purpose of aiding practitioners and institutions in efforts to improve patient safety. Such a system should:

  • Define procedures to identify and report errors.
  • Utilize a set of definitions and taxonomy of errors developed through consensus.
  • Use a centralized data repository that processes and evaluates the data submitted and assures its integrity and confidentiality.
  • Ensure that information submitted to reporting systems will be comprehensively analyzed to identify actions that would minimize the risk that reported events recur that reduce recurrence of errors. Reporting systems should facilitate the sharing of patient safety information among providers and health care organizations and foster confidential collaboration with other health care reporting systems.
  • Support a non-punitive culture for reporting health care errors focusing on preventing and correcting systems failures rather than on individual or organizational culpability.
  • Include statutory protection from liability to providers and institutions that report data to the system.
  • Eliminate redundancy in reporting to multiple agencies or governmental bodies.
  • Be adequately funded.

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