Introduction: Pioneering a New Approach to Patient Safety

In an article titled, “Why Hospitals Still Make Serious Medical Errors—and How They Are Trying to Reduce Them” the Wall Street Journal spotlighted Pascal as a crucial technology enabler of the innovative adverse event outcome data standard, poised to revolutionize patient safety and risk management in global healthcare. This breakthrough emerged from a sobering New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) article featuring an 11-Harvard hospital study led by Dr. David Bates, Dr. Elizabeth Mort, and their esteemed Harvard colleagues, in which they present data once again showing that approximately 25% of hospital patients experience some kind of harm due to medical error. The authors used Pascal’s method to identify and measure harm (as opposed to the current standard, a “see something, say something” voluntary reporting method). Pascal stands out as the sole company to have successfully operationalized this Harvard study’s cutting-edge trigger-based adverse event identification methodology at scale across U.S. hospitals.

The New Data Standard: Revolutionizing Safety and Risk with Data-driven Methods

While some media outlets have honed in on hospitals embracing new technology as a whole, the true significance of the landmark NEJM article extends far beyond merely adopting advanced tools. At its core, the study introduces a superior method for defining adverse event outcomes by utilizing real-time Electronic Health Record (EHR) data and effectively identifying patient harm based on this EHR-driven definition.

This innovative data standard represents a game-changer for the healthcare industry. By leveraging real-time EHR data, healthcare providers can detect patterns and trends that may have been previously obscured by traditional reporting methods. This heightened level of insight allows for proactive identification of potential issues and timely interventions, ultimately improving patient outcomes and reducing the risk of harm. Pascal’s Virtual Patient Safety (VPS) solution uses this data standard and Pascal’s clients find 10x more preventable harm than traditional reporting methods, and more importantly, have shown that they can use that data to consistently reduce all-cause and specific harms by up to 25% and 80% respectively.

That’s right – EIGHTY percent. Using Pascal’s trigger-based adverse event identification methodology allows healthcare organizations to target specific, high-risk incidents that may contribute to patient harm. This data-driven approach empowers healthcare teams to prioritize their efforts and allocate resources to areas that will have the most significant impact on patient safety. Check out the VPS white paper to learn how a large health system reduced oversedation events by 80% in 12 months using Pascal’s VPS solution.

By embracing this new data standard, healthcare institutions can transform their patient safety and risk management strategies. This data-driven method not only streamlines the detection and prevention of adverse events but also fosters a culture of continuous improvement, ultimately elevating the quality of care provided to patients across the globe.

Leadership: The Driving Force Behind Patient Safety

The “Gating” Leadership Factor underlines the crucial role leaders play in uncovering and addressing harm. Committed leaders must allocate resources for such initiatives, assess the impact on clinical and financial outcomes, and resist the temptation to launch alternative new initiatives. The dedication of healthcare leaders is vital to creating a safer environment for patients.

The Compelling Cost Argument: Reducing the Burden of Patient Harm

A critical yet often overlooked finding of the Harvard study is the association of patient harm with an excessive length of stay (XLOS) of 5.1 days. This discovery supports Pascal’s XLOS-based ROI, included in its business cases for health system partners, revealing a massive cost reduction opportunity. By recognizing and addressing patient harm, health systems can transition patient safety from a cost center to a valuable asset, delivering tangible financial benefits.

A Unified Approach: Integrating Patient Safety and Risk Management

Historically, patient safety and risk management have functioned in separate organizational silos. The new data standard introduces a common outcomes data source and language, bridging the gap between these two essential functions. By fostering collaboration and breaking down the historical divide, healthcare organizations can measure and manage patient safety and risk management more effectively, enhancing their overall performance.

Beyond Culture: Embracing Data-Driven Solutions for Patient Safety

While nurturing a safety culture is indispensable, relying solely on culture to improve patient safety is inadequate. Dr. Berwick’s NEJM editorial argues that voluntary event reporting is nearly worthless for calculating rates. Hospitals and health systems striving for high reliability and “zero harm” must adopt this novel method, empowering them to calculate rates and operationalize the measurement and management of “all harm all the time for all patients.”

In conclusion, the clinically validated adverse event outcomes using real-time EHR data is not a new standard per se, but it now gains undeniable momentum and is reaching critical mass thanks to the latest evidenced published in the NEJM article and the groundbreaking Harvard study. This new data standard will soon set a new standard of care for patient safety and risk management, prompting health systems to join the journey and lead the way in clinical, financial, and experience outcomes. Healthcare leaders must seize this opportunity to transform patient safety and risk management, delivering unparalleled benefits to their organizations and patients alike.