Patient Safety: Going Well Beyond a Checklist
First Published Thursday, 15th March 2012 02:31 pm from TIBCO Software : Kim Jennett
The opinions expressed by this blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone, this does not reflect the opinion of Automated Trader or any employee thereof. Automated Trader is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by this article.
style="margin: 3px 5px;" title="BeAware-graphic-180px-150x150"
alt="Patient Safety Week" width="150" height="150"
Patient Safety Awareness Week coming to a close, we
thought we would give some attention to this important
In following this week's articles, blog
posts and tweets, much of the discussion about patient safety has
centered on the treatment a patient receives during a procedure
or hospital stay, so we asked Dr. Gary Ferguson, one of TIBCO's
Chief Healthcare Strategists, for href="http://www.thetibcoblog.com/2012/03/09/are-zero-accidents-our-goal/">his
perspective. In his words he feels strongly that: "Many
of these approaches are treating the symptoms, and not the
This is a good point. Take for example
the case of hospital readmissions. It's well known that CMS will
begin penalizing hospitals if their readmission rate exceeds
So what should caregivers be focused on in
order to achieve patient safety, and how does technology fit into
Operationalize Data to
Avoid Problems: The factors
that lead to readmission often occur days or weeks before the
patient walks (or is wheeled) back through the hospital doors.
The problem is the right information never gets to the right
person who can take action to prevent it.
hospital discharge. While this is a common data point
in predicting a readmission, a single factor may not be enough to
warrant action. But by correlating multiple data streams and
events, a risk profile can be calculated for each patient, which
triggers alerts for a physician or nurse to take
According to Dr. Ferguson, "Healthcare
is the epitome of a Big Data problem. Information is gathered
about nearly every aspect of a patient's experience, but if it
just goes into a database for analysis after-the-fact, it's
worthless. By getting the href="http://www.spotfire.tibco.com/">right
information to the right person who can take action
immediately, we can change outcomes."
Use Social Media: Social
media isn't just for "socializing." In a secure, patient-centric
environment, the care management team can be alerted of risks
immediately through their mobile devices, and collaborate in real
time to resolve the situation.
to the patient's family as well, the expanded support network can
be involved in post-discharge care, making sure the prescriptions
are filled and appointments are kept," adds Dr.
Processes: The majority of the work in healthcare
remains in the hands of human beings and won't be href="http://www.nimbuspartners.com/industries/healthcare">automated
in the foreseeable future.
"One of the most
effective ways to ensure patient safety is to standardize and
improve care pathways to ensure that the best possible treatment
is shared knowledge and consistently applied. Broken handoffs,
gaps and duplications can only be eliminated when we manage the
human work in a systematic way that is continually improved and
"It's only by addressing all
aspects of the patient experience that an environment of patient
safety can truly be achieved," Dr. Ferguson concludes.