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Writing Narrative Descriptions for Reports Webinar

The Writing Narrative Descriptions for Reports Webinar was held on July 14, 2022.

Watch the recording for the Writing Narrative Descriptions for Reports Webinar exit icon (video - 58:05).

Event Materials:



  1. What is the purpose of an NPDB narrative description?
    The purpose of a narrative description is to ensure that future NPDB queriers have a clear understanding of the acts or omissions of the subject of the report and the nature of and reasons for the event upon which the report is based.

  2. What are the critical factors to include in a narrative description?
    Narrative descriptions should be limited to statements of fact and should summarize the official findings of the case including a description of the circumstances that led to the action.

  3. What is the appropriate amount of detail to include in a narrative description?
    Give enough information so that future queriers have an understanding of the events giving rise to the report. Narrative descriptions are limited to 4,000 characters, including spaces. When drafting a narrative description, consider what you would like to know about the incident being reported if you were the person reading the report.

  4. What should not be included in a narrative description?
    Narrative descriptions must not include URLs, references to external websites, or proper names of or identifying information about any individual except the subject of the report. Other individuals involved in the incident may be identified by title or relationship, such as "the chief of staff," "the anesthesiologist," or "the spouse."

  5. Are narrative descriptions typically initiated by an organization's legal counsel or the medical staff?
    The reporting entity is responsible for submitting an accurate report to the NPDB. The reporting entity may wish to obtain assistance from legal counsel or senior entity officials when drafting the report's narrative description.

  6. Do you offer templates of different reporting scenarios to use as a guide when reporting to the NPDB?
    The NPDB does not provide reporting scenario templates, but it does provide sample reports that can used when filling out reports. You can find examples of narrative descriptions on our website. We also offer detailed instructions on how to submit reports. An entity is responsible for obtaining all of the required information to submit a complete NPDB report.

  7. Can the NPDB change narrative descriptions?
    No. The NPDB may ask the reporting entity to submit a correction if it determines that a narrative does not provide sufficient detail. The NPDB may make this determination at any time.

Subject Statements

  1. What is a subject statement?
    The subject statement is an opportunity for the subject of a report to provide additional information about the reported activity. NPDB is committed to maintaining accurate information and ensuring subjects of reports are informed when a report concerning them is submitted.

  2. Why is a subject statement important?
    Subject statements are important because they allow subjects of reports to present their side of an incident reported to the NPDB. A subject statement becomes part of a report and remains with the report unless the subject edits or removes it. Once a subject statement is processed, the NPDB provides the subject statement to the reporting entity and queriers who received a copy of the report within the past 3 years.

  3. What is the best practice for rebutting an individual's subject statement?
    Entities cannot rebut subject statements. Entities have stated their view of what happened by filing the original report. The subject statement allows the subject of the report to present a different view of the events that occurred.