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Trigger Tools: Identifying Adverse Events


Increasingly, the use of ‘triggers’ or clues to identify adverse events is found to be an effective method for measuring the overall level of harm from medical care in a health care organisation.

Traditional efforts to detect adverse events focus on voluntary reporting and tracking of errors. However, we know that a very low proportion of errors are ever reported. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) therefore developed another more effective way to identify events that do cause harm to patients; trigger tools.

There are various trigger tools available on These provide an easy-to-use method for accurately identifying harm and measuring the rate of adverse events over time.


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