Four Ways to Boost Adverse Event Detection and Improve Patient Safety

Hiral Patel

Reducing adverse events have long been at the forefront of improving patient safety and quality. Nearly 30 years ago, the Institute of Medicine published “To Err is Human”. This journal estimated that 98,000 of accidental deaths and over 1 million injuries caused in hospitals are a result of medical and diagnostic errors, adverse drug events and system flaws. 

This study quickly circulated in the healthcare industry and urged many organizations to take preventative measures. Opportunities for improvement remain, however.  According to a case study from The Journal of Patient Safety adverse events, specifically accidental deaths, have increased since “To Err Is Human”, reaching 210,000 in 2013. Adverse events continue to create an opportunity for all professionals in the healthcare to dig deeper and find new ways to make a difference.

One of these opportunities is increasing event detection. To get you thinking, here are four tips strategies to boost event detection and reduce numbers of harmful events.

Implement a learning program to continuously educate clinical staff on patient safety and various adverse event detection methods.

Implementing an education program can go a long way to keep everyone up to speed on new techniques and best practices in event detection and are an opportunity to highlight the importance of reporting, regardless of circumstances.

Bassett Medical Center has some great tips for improving patient safety in 15 minutes a day in by encouraging engagement and accountability – check out the free, on-demand webinar.

Create and promote an open atmosphere that supports adverse event reporting, so that frontline staff don’t have to worry about negative repercussions.

With voluntary adverse event reporting being the most common method to detect an adverse event, it is important for hospitals to establish an open culture that promotes growth and feedback. Leadership can encourage this type of culture so that healthcare personnel feel confident that they can report without negative consequences. Ochsner Health System created a just culture around root cause analysis (RCA) with their move to the RCA2 framework – read their full story for more information.

Maximize opportunities to get insight from patients.

Patient interviews work to provide a source of adverse event reporting that would otherwise be difficult to detect; patients are first-hand receivers of hospital care thus provide valuable primary information. The team for patient-and-family centered care at Kingston General Hospital use feedback forums to gather important insights from their patients – an approach that creates meaningful opportunities to close the feedback loop.

Invest in an incident or adverse event reporting software, that will encourage adverse event reporting.

Investing in an incident reporting software allows organizations to record and manage adverse events in one place and prevent similar events from occurring in the future. A flexible, easy-to-use software, with a friendly interface is extremely important in the healthcare industry to encourage event reporting and mitigate risk.

The RL Suite of healthcare safety and quality software by RLDatix can help you leverage event detection, from creating a risk report to performing a root cause analysis. Learn more about how our suite can support your event detection strategy.


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