Addressing Patient Safety Risks Amid Flu Season and Current COVID-19 Crisis Using Enhanced Collaboration Solutions

Updated on December 13, 2020

How healthcare organizations can make impactful changes to reduce historic and new patient risks

By Heather Annolino

Providing patients with quality care is the goal for every care facility, but organizations are facing unique challenges keeping patients safe during these increasingly difficult times. As the healthcare system is experiencing a heavier than normal strain on its resources, providing patients treatment according to current care plans during the pandemic and the quickly approaching flu season – risk and patient safety leaders need the ability to continually monitor the everchanging medical landscape to effectively reduce risks which could lead to adverse events. 

As a result of the pending “twin-demic,” patient safety is more important than ever. This requires organizations to have full insight to identify hidden patterns and trends. By implementing predictive analytics and data-discovery, patient risk and safety leaders can focus on interventions and changes in processes, detect vulnerabilities, and increase preparedness before, during, and after an event. Reducing the occurrence of adverse events – including but not limited to falls, incorrect medication prescriptions, missed abnormalities, delays in diagnosis, and incorrect tests – organizations can improve the costs associated with providing quality care. 

Using a centralized reporting tool and advanced analytics with AI, organizations can break down silos. This is because all risk and patient safety modules are on one platform, allowing key data to be analyzed from end to end instead of within each module. By approaching risks using this method, healthcare leaders can enhance care processes and procedures based on data and not perceived biases. But for these systems to be effective, healthcare organizations need to use an integrated risk and patient safety software system that allows them to elevate care, enhance quality, and reduce risk with the following three system requirements. 

  • Advanced Analytics – Through the use of AI and predictive analytics, healthcare organizations can take big, seemingly random data sets and organize them to uncover hidden patterns and trends (data discovery). The data is then converted into actionable insights based on fact-based queries to identify trends that are not influenced by any personal biases. Utilizing AI, patient safety and/or risk management teams can have full insight into key factors before and after the event.
  • Event Reporting and Investigation – Without this insight, facilities will have incomplete data sets and be unable to address the root cause of the event. By using a centralized event reporting and investigation tool, healthcare organizations can quickly and easily report incidents appropriately, while empowering healthcare organizations to better understand patient safety events, improve the patient experience, and elevate the facility’s patient safety culture. 
  • Root Cause Analysis and Action Planning – Develops a thorough timeline to explore and display the possible causes of a certain event, allowing the investigators and team members to focus on multiple root causes as there are often more than one root cause that leads to a single incident. This tool also assists with creating data-driven reports based on root causes, contributing factors, interviews, and other key information gathered throughout the investigation that enable action plans. This improves an organization’s access to information throughout an investigation, as traditionally this information is documented on a whiteboard. 

In order to drive impactful changes, it is important for organizations to have a full and unbiased understanding of an event, what led up to it, and what measures need to be put into place to reduce its occurrence in the future. By implementing a flexible and connective patient safety and risk management solution which breaks down silos across teams, patient and risk management leaders can make better informed decisions to provide an environment free from harm and mitigate future adverse risks.  

About Heather Annolino

Heather Annolino, RN, MBA, CPHRM, is the Senior Director of Healthcare Practice at Ventiv Tech where she plays an integral part in developing Ventiv’s Patient Safety solutions. 

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.