If you’ve just been involved in an incident, your adrenaline will be running on overdrive. Your brain may push some details to the top of your mind and completely hide others. Avoid asking “what happened?” expecting the respondent to harness total recall. Coach them through the story by asking detailed questions: “What time did it happen?”, “Who witnessed the incident?”, “Was somebody injured?”, “Where?”, “How badly?” Even better incident reports anticipate questions that may come up later. Images won’t go fuzzy on the details—ask the reporter to upload relevant photos (remember to safeguard vulnerable people). Let others guide the exchange—use Typeform’s Logic Jump to personalize the conversation, saving precious time.
As humans, we sometimes need a little push before we take action. Anyone who’s witnessed the “bystander effect” will recognize that. Great incident reports make it clear what people need to do, and push them to act. Asking effective questions is key. “What needs to happen next?” is just as important as “what happened?” Ensure there’s accountability for actions by giving people specific responsibilities: “Who will do this?” Great incident reports also tell a story—a detailed narrative can reveal the conditions that contributed to an incident. Better reports help teams make informed decisions about the environment, policy, and procedure.
First, identify what constitutes a great incident report for your organization. In a medical environment, it might be recording as much detail as possible in anticipation of future review. In a risk-filled work environment, SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) action plans could be key. In a fast-moving social care environment, the priority might be speed. In any case, your frontline staff need to feel supported by the procedure—not hindered by it. They’re making a difference in other people’s lives— so make a difference in theirs by creating a reporting form that removes friction. Once you have your priorities straight, create a form that does the heavy lifting by asking the right questions.
Your last question should ask for SMART actions that respond to the incident. Those actions become your building blocks for an effective follow-up. The smartest actions mean nothing until someone grabs hold of them and starts sprinting. Remember to integrate your typeform with other apps to filter responses into your existing workflow. Using Trello to manage team tasks? Create cards in a team member’s list to make actions visible. Still using trusty ol’ email? Get notifications whenever a new incident is reported—good for anyone on-call who needs to stay in the loop. Data is critical for any support service. Track incidents over time and hone in on those spikes. Finally, continue the conversation. Listen to your staff, improve your typeform, and work to reduce incidents in your service.
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