Patient Safety Awareness Week seeks to reduce risks, errors, and patient harm through heightened awareness of potential errors and best practices for reducing that harm. According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) patient safety fact sheet, patient safety issues continue to rise as healthcare complexity evolves. WHO estimated that, in high-income countries, one in every ten patients is harmed while receiving hospital care—harm caused by a range of adverse events, with nearly 50 percent being preventable.
Health Catalyst addresses the need to increase patient safety through data-driven strategies, technology platforms, applications, and tech-enabled managed services. This article highlights ways in which three hospital systems have successfully implemented new patient safety initiatives and measurably reduced patient harm.
Banner Health, a nonprofit healthcare system headquartered in Arizona, established a strategic initiative to improve inpatient mortality as part of its safety pursuit of “zero harm.” To accomplish this goal, the team needed access to accurate, reliable mortality data across the organization and a technology solution that would allow members to analyze mortality O/E across all facilities.
Banner Health chose to use a data platform and the expertise of its tech-enabled managed services registered nurse clinical chart abstractors to refine existing applications, including analysis and drill-down capabilities, and turn mortality information into actionable insight. In just one year, the organization improved the accuracy of its clinical documentation, and 17 of its facilities successfully improved the mortality O/E. One facility decreased the mortality O/E by 0.93.
The Queen’s Health System in Hawaii recognized that suicidality was increasing during COVID-19 and many patients were presenting to the emergency department (ED) for help. The organization established a team to review data from its analytics platform and develop a system-wide suicide prevention plan. The plan implemented several best practices, including suicide risk screening for all patients presenting to the ED, evidence-based interventions to better understand risk and ways to prevent suicide, and new telehealth offerings providing patients with psychiatric care and social work support.
Within a year, Queen’s measured a 46.3 percentage point increase in the number of patients receiving all their suicide prevention elements. This increased patient safety and resulted in zero patients dying of suicide within 72 hours of discharge from the hospital.
A healthcare organization, comprised of a specialty hospital and multiple clinics, improved patient safety by implementing trigger-based surveillance designed to reduce preventable harm events, including wrong-patient order errors. The health system leveraged DOS™ and a suite of analytics applications, including the Patient Safety Monitor™ Suite: Surveillance Module, to develop a system that monitored, detected, and predicted threats to patient safety. The organization’s initial success led to increased use of triggers developed by interdisciplinary teams for specific patient safety events. In the case of wrong-patient order errors, the team integrated multiple detection methods for identifying potential errors. The team also established active triggers to inform staff, resulting in increased patient safety.
These three healthcare organizations illustrate how the use of data-driven strategies, data platforms, analytics applications, as well as tech-enabled managed services can improve patient safety by detecting patient-harm events as they occur and creating reliable predictions of possible future events.
Each of these organizations partnered with Health Catalyst to leverage their data analytics and enable warning systems that increased patient safety. The partners continue to identify areas for improvement.
Patient safety is an urgent global need that impacts an unfortunately high percentage of patients. The three innovative organizations above are successfully reducing patient harm and setting a framework for other health systems to replicate to improve patient health outcomes and, ultimately, help people live healthier lives.