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Adverse event

An incident that resulted in harm to a person receiving health care.

Clinical incident

An event or circumstance that could have, or did lead to unintended and/or unnecessary harm to a person receiving care.

Clinical incidents include adverse events, near misses and hazards in the environment that pose a clinical risk.

Consumer feedback

A complaint or positive statement made by a service user to the service provider.


Harm includes disease, injury, suffering, disability, and death - where disease, suffering and disability are defined as follows.

Disease: a physiological or psychological dysfunction.

Suffering: experiencing anything subjectively unpleasant. This may include pain, malaise, nausea, vomiting, loss (any negative consequence, including financial) depression, agitation, alarm, fear or grief.

Disability: any type of impairment of body structure or function, activity limitation and/or restriction of participation in society, associated with a past or present harm.


A circumstance or agent that can lead to harm, damage or loss.

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An event or circumstance that lead – or could have lead - to unintended or unnecessary harm.

Incident Severity Rating(ISR)

A score of 1, 2, 3 or 4 measures the severity of the impact (harm) caused to either a person or organisation following an incident. The ISR can also be used to measure the potential severity of impact (PISR). The ISR is calculated based on the responses to three questions.

Just culture

A culture in which frontline personnel feel comfortable disclosing errors - including their own - while maintaining professional accountability.

Near miss event

An incident that had the potential to cause harm but didn't, due to timely intervention and/or luck and/or chance.

Occupational health & safety (OHS) incident

OHS incident, defined as 'an event or circumstance that could have resulted, or did result, in unintended or unnecessary harm to a staff member, contractor, visitor or other non-health care recipient'.

Open disclosure

The process of open communication with patients and their families following an adverse event.
Open Disclosure for Victorian health services: a guide book DHS, 2008 pp1


A patient refers to patient/client/resident

Primary incident type

Classification of the main incident being reported.

Related incident type

Classification of incidents that occurred at the same time as the primary incident but were of a secondary nature and did not necessarily contribute to the primary incident.

Root cause analysis

Methodology followed in performing a detailed and thorough investigation.

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