preventing harmAs healthcare moves away from the traditional fee-for-service compensation and towards value-based care, preventing harm escalates in importance. Risk surrounds almost every aspect of healthcare, so it can be difficult or confusing to track all patients manually. In addition, it usually results in a reactive care process. With so many potential sources for harm, the question becomes: how can you prevent harm in an efficient and accurate way?

Tweet: 4 ways business intelligence can help prevent harm in healthcare

Business intelligence can give you greater insight into your hospital data, and therefore help you more accurately identify ways to reduce harm. Business intelligence allows you to better organize and store information, as well as create alerts when something is potentially wrong. Here are 4 examples of how business intelligence can help your healthcare organization reduce risk by becoming more proactive to potential harm.

1. Create a high-risk drug report

Certain drugs, such as Heparin, Coumadin, Epoetin and some antibiotics, can put particular patients at a higher risk for harm. The trouble is figuring out which drugs have the most potential negative side effects for which patients. Business intelligence, if properly collaborated with clinical pharmacists, can create a system for tracking and monitoring patients on high-risk drugs and certain antibiotics. This cuts down on time and effort as instead of manual submissions and analysis, providers monitor patients on these high risk medications by surveilling and trending lab values for slight changes in patient health. These changes which might otherwise go unnoticed will alert pharmacists and clinicians to a potential risk of harm. This implementation transforms to a proactive approach, as the compiled data can mark trends. With business intelligence, hospitals can easily track and catch shifts in patients’ health before it becomes a risk.

2. Implement electronic safety audits

The National Healthcare Safety Network and CDC require many safety measures to be in place to protect patients from harm. Most hospitals have “nurse auditors” who manually extract charts post-harm events as well as try to identify “near-misses” or potentials for risk. However, this process takes up valuable time and money, and is largely reactive. As a result, it cannot possibly capture all of the potential risks that exist in a healthcare system.

As healthcare becomes more and more trended towards value-based care, this system is faltering. Instead, hospitals should implement electronic safety audits, which allow for verification of electronically identified potential problems rather than abstracting to find potential problems. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement created a list of “global triggers” that if the “algorithms” are implemented electronically could help identify many more potential risks and near misses. By using business intelligence, proactive measures become more common, resulting in quicker identification of problems and improved safety.

3. Flag “at-risk patients”

One of the greatest risks for ICU patients is renal failure. Acute Renal Failure is common in ICU patients and has a persistent negative impact on patient outcomes. Business intelligence can help identify ICU patients undergoing surgery who may be at increased risk for acute kidney injury. It does this by proactively monitoring and trending baseline and subsequent creatinine levels and “flagging” those with early signs of injury. By watching and monitoring these early signs, healthcare organizations can catch problems before they become more serious. This saves time, money, and increases the chance of better outcomes for the patient in question.

4. Identifying medication administration errors

With the rising use of technology in healthcare, medication administration is largely completed through the use of bar codes. The problem can occur when staff bypasses the system. If staff are not properly using the system and bypassing processes, internal system reports can prove meaningless due to the “bad data” in the system.  Business intelligence can help improve reporting by identifying the root of the “bad data” and areas in need of process improvement. This leads to better reviews and action planning for nurse managers in addressing errors and miscues. This is done largely through pinpointing problems in reporting and identifying trends of who usually fails to properly complete the process. It gives accountability to nurses and provides better reporting to nurse managers.

Here at Dimensional Insight, we pride ourselves on the fact that our technology is truly making a difference. The data our software solutions provide to healthcare organizations are increasing efficiency and accuracy, as well as creating better care. Check out our case studies to see how healthcare is using business intelligence to improve their organizations.

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