Despite the efforts of an entire industry, however, progress has been slow – indeed, the situation may be getting worse.
While the IOM report estimated that as many as 98,000 U.S. patients die annually from medical errors, a 2016 study published in the BMJ shows that medical errors may now be the third-leading cause of death in the United States – claiming 251,000 lives every year. If the study’s findings are correct, then only heart disease and cancer kill more people each year than medical errors.
How can healthcare organizations, despite all their efforts to improve patient safety, be sliding in the wrong direction? The answer is simple. Too often, healthcare organizations create a rudimentary incident reporting system that might be effective at capturing medical errors and near misses, but does nothing to connect all the data contained within those reports to identify trends and opportunities for improvement.
To borrow from the needle-in-a-haystack analogy, with a manual, paper system, each incident is nothing more than a single needle in a pile of incident reports, with no way to find commonality and root causes between multiple events.
It has only been in recent years that healthcare executives have begun to understand the magnitude of the paper incident reporting problem. They now understand that it is no longer good enough to boast about the number of incident reports filed; healthcare organizations must be able to mine that data to determine root causes, identify potential risks, and predict when and where future events might occur.
Of course, without robust patient safety software, achieving those outcomes is impossible, which is why the need for such a software application has quickly become a strategic imperative for many healthcare organizations.
Datix has been improving incident reporting in hospitals worldwide for years, designing and deploying technology that protects patients from preventable patient harm through active surveillance that not only promotes a safety culture, but also encourages self-reporting of errors and near misses. Our online incident reporting form – just one cog on the Datix patient safety toolkit – was designed in real-world environments in consultation with our users to ensure it is not only simple to use, but also suitable for both clinical and non-clinical incident reporting. The user interface can be personalized to the needs and workflows of the organization, and incidents can be easily submitted by anyone in the organization with access to a computer.
But that’s not what makes our incident reporting functionality so powerful.
Datix Incident Reporting combines with Datix Safety Alerts to provide teams with daily huddle topics that include local incidents and near misses, enterprise level alerts, and lessons learned to ensure the spread of improvements and awareness.
In addition, by automatically and immediately routing event reports according to categories, areas involved, and risks identified, triage and investigation time are improved, which allows safety professionals to shift their efforts from chasing investigative tasks to improving safety with team leaders. When teams see timely and consistent responses to the events they report, safety culture improves, which helps avoid future, potential adverse events.
Our ability to promote a patient safety culture through technology is just one reason why Datix is the global leader in patient safety and risk management technology. We maintain an intense focus on reducing preventable patient harm. If you want to leverage technology to reduce preventable patient harm – or improve any aspect of your patient safety program – then we would welcome a conversation. We work only in healthcare, which allows us to provide you with a level of expertise you won’t find anywhere else. Let’s get to work.