Tackling Patient Safety with Real-Time, Data-Driven Clinical Intelligence
Guest post by Adam Klass, chief technology officer, VigiLanz.
Here are some downright chilling patient safety statistics keeping healthcare leaders up at night: Each year more than one million hospital patients – that’s 136 per hour, every day – are affected by sepsis, and 280,000 die. In addition, 82 people in hospitals are affected every hour, every day, by hospital-acquired infections (HAI), and 217 experience a preventable Adverse Drug Event (ADE).
The good news is that an emerging category of technology known as enterprise intelligence resources (EIR) can empower clinicians to more quickly and effectively tackle these infections and ADEs – and even prevent them from occurring in the first place. By integrating and analyzing massive amounts of data generated by multiple sources, EIRs are not only able to identify at-risk patients, but also to tell frontline clinicians in real-time what is happening – and likely to happen – with their patients. Equally important, the EIRs fit seamlessly into clinicians’ workflows, generating only essential alerts.
Built on flexible, interoperable data architectures, EIR platforms extend the value of existing EMRs by integrating real-time clinical and business intelligence with predictive analytics to address sepsis, HAIs and ADEs as well as a wide range of other patient safety and public health risks such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), venous thromboembolism (VTE), C. difficile (C.Diff), MRSA, surgery site infections, Ebola and MERS. Armed with EIR-provided actionable insights, clinicians can optimize appropriate interventions that improve patient outcomes, reduce patient safety risk and support quality initiatives.
Time is of the absolute essence in addressing patient safety risk, particularly in the case of sepsis. Research has shown that the earlier the intervention, the significantly lower the mortality and morbidity. EIRs can help significantly reduce sepsis risk by enabling clinicians to:
- Identify at-risk patients earlier. Based on historical hospital data, an EIR can create a profile and scoring system to calculate a sepsis risk score for each patient, flagging those whose risk exceeds a pre-defined threshold.
- Automatically track at-risk patients. The EIR closely monitors patients’ sepsis diagnostics and vital signs, and automatically updates their risk scores in the EMR.
- Deliver appropriate alerts. The EIR notifies clinicians when interventions are required and continues to monitor patients so treatment can be adjusted according to defined protocols.
Implementing this approach has been shown to reduce sepsis occurrence by double digits. Most importantly, patients’ lives are saved. At the same time, reducing sepsis occurrence can also significantly reduce costs, given that sepsis accounts for 40 percent of ICU spending and nearly $29 billion in healthcare expenditures.
With EIR technology, providers can take advantage of real-time clinical intelligence, custom-tailored clinical surveillance and predictive models designed specifically for their hospital system and the communities they serve. The platform integrates information from the hospital’s existing EMR system and other relevant sources and uses robust, exception-based, temporal rules, algorithms and events to track specific populations and generate real-time alerts for clinicians. No additional or special data entry is required.
Unlike with EHRs, where the process of creating new alerts or adjusting existing ones can take weeks or months, EIRs can build rules in minutes. As a result, it is much easier to track numerous conditions and patient safety risks, including emerging public health outbreaks. This is critically important, because as much as hospitals are in the business of caring for patients, they are also increasingly in the business of managing – and nurturing – their data assets.
To thrive in the future, hospitals need to transform into real-time health delivery organizations capable of putting critical information at clinicians’ fingertips so they can provide the highest levels of quality care. Clinicians – and patients – expect no less in today’s digital world.
The next level
EIRs integrate seamlessly with EMRs to take hospitals to this vital next level of data-driven quality care, as well as to leverage clinical and business intelligence to minimize re-admissions and avoid costly CMS penalties.
Using a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, EIRs can be delivered without putting additional burdens on hospital IT departments whose resources are likely already stretched thin. The solutions require no special hardware or software and can be implemented rapidly, generally within 90 business days.
Valuable EIR features to look for include:
- The ability to interface with any dataset, EMR or other system is essential.
- Patient dashboards. Centralizing patient-specific data, including charts, notes from multiple clinicians and timeline views, helps expedite patient assessment.
- True real-time capacity. A continuous real-time service, versus batched information or report-centered intelligence, processes EMR and other health data every one to two minutes and delivers alerts tailored to individual patient information.
- Data should be encrypted and the HIPAA-compliant platform should be managed in highly secure, redundant data centers.
- Hospitals using proven EIR platforms often see measurable improvements in clinical outcomes and cost savings within 12 months.
- Continuous learning. A data warehouse that stores metadata collected through continuous clinical surveillance can leverage analytical models to determine causal relationships and drive quality improvement.
- Expert vendor support. Implementation, configuration, tailored training and ongoing support from an experienced vendor services team that includes clinicians helps optimize EIR performance.
In today’s value-based environment, healthcare providers face intense pressure to better utilize data to minimize risk to patient safety and improve the quality of care. EIR platforms take their existing information resources and assets to the next level by integrating, organizing, normalizing and leveraging them to give frontline clinicians the real-time, actionable intelligence they need to deliver the best possible care to their patients.