Healthcare News & Insights

Harness risk management/patient safety software to reduce risk

On a typical day, many hospitals already operate at near or maximum capacity, but the coronavirus pandemic has pushed many to the brink. It’s a given that everyone in a healthcare system shares the goal of delivering high-quality care that’s free of incidents, but amid the escalating health concerns brought on by the pandemic, some processes have become inconsistent and unpredictable, communication is fragmented at best and the risk for critical incidents due to insufficient data is high. 

As cases continue to increase across parts of the country, hospitals are in disaster preparedness mode with overburdened risk and patient safety managers. It’s essential, now more than ever, for hospitals to have a single system that tracks risk and patient safety data and delivers ongoing support during the pandemic. Healthcare risk management/patient safety software can help hospital leaders identify and correct issues on the fly and maintain strong lines of communication between hospital staff, elevating the safety culture and improving the patient experience.

During these unforeseen conditions, it’s essential for healthcare organizations to move to a transparent, learning-oriented approach to collecting and making use of patient safety data. Here are four ways healthcare risk management/patient safety software can give organizations much-needed clarity:

Access data in one place

Risk managers, patient safety managers and patient relations managers can all benefit from access to a single system for patient safety needs that delivers ongoing support effectively. With powerful, easy-to-use analytics and reporting capabilities, risk management/patient safety software allows them to do just that and more by helping organizations bring data into one place for exploration and benchmarking against third-party data. Having data in a central location empowers healthcare organizations to make more precise, data-driven decisions that improve outcomes.

Maintain visibility to prevent safety events

Healthcare providers have a distinct need to be able to perform analysis on every data point in their risk, claims and patient safety systems. To visualize this data, organizations can use risk management/patient safety software to build and save dashboards around any data point in their system. Reports can be created and run ad-hoc in the moment or scheduled to be produced and distributed at a given time or with recurring frequency. This technology can also help organizations identify the appropriate actions to take before an adverse event occurs. By utilizing effective report dashboards, healthcare organizations can get an efficient and easy-to-understand oversight of unit-level and organization-wide performance.

Conduct rapid root cause analysis when an incident does occur

Root cause analysis is an important means of identifying vulnerabilities and preventing the recurrence of high-severity, high-probability events. The right risk management/patient safety software can help organizations conduct a more efficient root cause analysis, allowing individuals to integrate all the information surrounding an event into on single-system solution. This effectively streamlines what was previously a complicated, sometimes paper-based process by integrating event data from multiple sources into one clear picture.

Safeguard patient data

Approximately 90 percent of hospitals have reported a breach in the past two years, amounting to 6.2 billion dollars per year in the U.S. alone. Potentially significant exposures and susceptibilities may exist for organizations using legacy systems. Although employees are comfortable using such platforms, they may not be getting the support, updates and oversight necessary to protect sensitive data from security breaches. Modern risk management/patient safety software can help organizations limit their exposure, with functionality that allows for secure recording and exchange of patient data.

Software alone cannot create or perpetuate a strong culture of patient safety. However, it can make leadership’s commitment to achieving its safety goals a reality. Now is a critical time for healthcare workers to have quick access to the information they need to do their best work and stay safe. By adopting healthcare risk management/patient safety software, organizations can effectively utilize data to improve patient safety throughout and following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Heather Annolino, RN, MBA, CPHRM, is the senior director of healthcare practice at Ventiv where she plays an integral part in developing Ventiv’s Patient Safety solutions. Heather has over 25 years of experience in health care and truly understands the unique challenges healthcare organizations face.

 

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