Norton Healthcare

Reaching for Zero – The Datix impact on reducing preventable harm

Louisville Kentucky
Louisville Kentucky

For more than a century, the residents of Kentucky and Southern Indiana have trusted the Norton Healthcare name for quality and compassionate care.

With a network that has more than 250 locations including five hospitals, 14 Norton Immediate Care Centers, and more than 900 employed medical providers – all of which account for nearly three million patient encounters annually – Norton Healthcare is the state leader in serving adult and pediatric patients.

As the healthcare organization that most of the community turns to for care, it was only natural that the organization’s leadership set the bar for patient safety. As such, in 2015, Norton Healthcare’s board of trustees and leadership team established a robust patient safety initiative entitled, “Reaching for Zero” aimed at achieving zero preventable patient harm.

“Reaching for Zero” was not just a check box exercise, Norton Healthcare also wanted to revolutionize their safety culture.

The Challenge

The challenge was clear, if Norton Healthcare was going to transform patient safety across its network, its patient safety software had to excel at not only capturing incident reports, but also at tracking and identifying patient safety patterns and trends through analysis of the data. Norton Healthcare’s existing software, which had replaced a homegrown system, was not up to the task. Norton Healthcare’s leadership wanted to use reliability science to help them get better over time, using the principles of identify, analyze, and change when opportunities come about, which is what Datix has been a leading light in for more than 30 years.

More than a software provider, a partner in safety

During the procurement process, two things really stood out about Datix. Here’s what Kelly Johnson, System Director, Risk Management, said

“We needed something that is both a reporting and a learning system and that it wasn't just about data, it was about turning that data into something meaningful that could be used for actionable patient safety improvement. Patient safety is a top priority, and we use the Datix modules, including Claims and Patient Experience, built around understanding where we can improve, reduce costs, and ultimately provide better care.”

In the beginning, time was spent discussing Norton Healthcare’s issues and challenges and how these could be efficiently and effectively overcome during the implementation process.

Using Datix’s extensive experience, they were able to make suggestions to get the project on the right path, such as eliminating as many of the barriers to staff reporting as possible, while ensuring the leaders were able to have that situational awareness of what's being reported, what they can do with it, how they can share that information and give feedback back to the reporters. Through a combination of Norton Healthcare’s desire to improve and Datix’s understanding of best practice, a a safety program was formed.

The impact of Datix on data analysis

Two years in, the organization’s root cause analyses have successfully evolved to an evidence based approach, which enabled Norton Healthcare to identify important patient safety patterns and trends. With trends identified, so have been improvement opportunities. “We now quickly run reports that allow us to detect patterns of specific event types that span across the organization,” Johnson said.

“This information can then be fed directly to the appropriate people, who can take the right corrective actions.”

The impact of Datix on patient safety culture

Prior to the Datix implementation, Norton Healthcare had already established itself as a leader in incident reporting, with system wide reporting mechanisms already in place.

With the implementation of Datix, Norton Healthcare management and staff discovered that it was now much easier to record accurate and meaningful data, enabling even more robust reports. The dashboards quickly conveyed important patient safety intelligence, and email notifications giving real time alerts to clinical managers are highly reliable. What’s more, because the software provided actionable information – which was now being used by Norton Healthcare to improve quality and patient safety – and staff could see tangible improvements resulting from the “Reaching for Zero” initiative, the number of incident reports being submitted annually increased by nearly 15%.

“We use the system to give feedback to the people who are reporting and talking about what's being reported,” Johnson said. “We can not only get the information back out, but also use it.”

A 10-point jump on the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture

That’s not all. Norton Healthcare participates in the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture, which evaluates an organization along 12 dimensions, including “frequency of events reported.” In the two years since Norton Healthcare implemented Datix, its score in this domain has increased by a staggering 10 points, where typically, a one- or two-point improvement is considered good. Norton Healthcare also achieved significant improvements in the dimensions of “organizational learning-continuous improvement” and “feedback and communication about error.”

Norton Healthcare’s composite survey score increased by three points during this period, which is triple the composite score improvement target established by AHRQ.

The ability to act to transform patient safety

Because of its Datix implementation, the Norton Healthcare leadership and management team can now recognize patterns and trends that were once invisible, quickly and access related root cause analyses to identify pieces of critical information, easily generate the requisite reports needed to brief others on patient safety opportunities, and launch improvement initiatives to eliminate potential future harm events.

With Datix as a partner, “Reaching for Zero” is now within Norton’s grasp.

About Norton Healthcare

For more than 130 years, Norton Healthcare’s faith heritage has guided its mission to provide quality health care to all those it serves. Today, Norton Healthcare is a leader in serving adult and pediatric patients throughout Greater Louisville, Southern Indiana, the commonwealth of Kentucky and beyond. The hospital and health care system is the Louisville area’s third largest private employer, providing care at more than 250 locations throughout Greater Louisville and Southern Indiana. The Louisville-based not-forprofit system includes five Louisville hospitals with 1,837 licensed beds; seven outpatient centers; 14 Norton Immediate Care Centers; more than 14,000 employees; more than 850 employed medical providers; and approximately 2,000 total physicians on its medical staff

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