Getting on the same page: Why health systems need to align their reporting systems

April 13, 2016 Stephanie Radcliffe

Very few healthcare facilities exist as independent entities anymore. Health systems are merging, consolidating staff, procedures and electronic systems. And it’s not just hospitals! Health systems are purchasing physician practices, ambulatory clinics, rehab and home care facilities, pharmacies and more.
Making everyone agree on how to track and report data can be a full-time job. But with the increased attention to quality and patient experience metrics, it’s not something healthcare organizations can afford to ignore.
Take the example of Kaiser Permanente Northwest. Katie Veeninga presented a webinar about how KP Northwest was struggling with managing multiple ways of tracking patient safety data at different locations.

In 2013, KP Northwest was opening a new hospital, the first one to open in the Portland metro area in 30 years. So the team wanted to do it right! However, KP Northwest realized that it had three different processes for tracking patient safety events:

  • Web-based system at the existing hospital
  • Paper-based reporting process at ambulatory clinics
  • An entirely different system and process for its non-patient care department
KP Northwest’s executive leadership wanted a system that provided more analysis and trending throughout multiple business units, most notably risk management and workplace safety. They also wanted something that worked for front-line users and other business units could use as well. Because of this, KP Northwest decided to purchase RL6:Risk and consolidated all of its locations on the one reporting system. 

Benefits of having everyone on one electronic system:
  • Better trending and analysis of quality and patient experience data with a shared taxonomy
  • Comprehensive reports that you can share internally and externally, such as with regulatory bodies and PSOs
  • Integrates with systems like EHRs, ADT, pharmacy and more
  • Community support from others using the same system, from best practices to support through implementation to custom configurations
  • Scalable! That means multiple modules that work together and a system powerful enough to handle the addition of new facilities. 
Homegrown systems offer these benefits too but they have their own drawbacks which Partners Continuing Care (PCC), part of the Partners HealthCare system, realized a few years ago. Some facilities were using paper forms while others used homegrown electronic systems to report safety events, and facilities used different taxonomies to classify severity. This variability made it difficult for the quality staff and system leadership to identify actionable trends. They all needed technology that would support the preexisting culture.

In 2012, PCC starting using RL6 to capture adverse events. Now, all of PCC's home healthcare and rehab staff use RL6 to report incidents, using customized forms to capture information such as additional harms from falls. Read the full case study

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