Facilitating safer care through patient safety and policy data integration

Organizations can make significant gains in patient care by having a source of truth combining safety data with information on policy compliance.

This article is part of the April 2023 COVERstory

Every day, healthcare professionals make countless decisions on behalf of their patients. From choosing the right medications to administering treatments, these decisions must be made quickly and accurately to deliver safer outcomes.

For healthcare professionals to make the best decisions possible, they need access to the most accurate and up-to-date information. So, how can we equip them to carry out this important work in a safer, more efficient way?

Integrating safety with policy data

In recent years, there’s been a growing focus on integrating patient safety data with policy data to help healthcare administrators and frontline staff more easily identify potential risk factors that could be mitigated by policy changes. Doing so also enables for early detection of hot-spot policies and gives collaborative visibility to the latest information, so risk and policy teams can seamlessly intervene and address future harm.

By integrating patient safety data with policy data, hospitals can create a more efficient and overall safer environment for both patients and care teams alike.

Preventable harm like medication errors, falls and wrong-side, wrong-patient surgeries are all too common in healthcare organizations. But surprisingly, these issues often can be traced back to problems with policies and procedures.

Whether it’s an outdated policy that guides staff to perform obsolete steps, a missing policy that has staff act without a standard practice in place or a conflicting policy that leaves staff without a clear way to proceed, these all contribute to adverse events, complaints, infections and claims within an organization.

By enabling quality and risk departments to capture and report factors contributing to patient harm or near-miss events, and track and then connect them against policy data in real time, administrators can draw a clear line to show how high-quality policies can lead to higher quality healthcare. It also automatically alerts policy owners to necessary policy reviews, helping them more quickly identify areas for improvement and make changes to reduce future risk.

Overall, integrating policy into an organization’s risk mitigation plan offers quality teams a more efficient way to ensure patient safety, reduce risk and save on valuable resources.

Integrated solution help

Policy management tools are key to delivering safer care rooted in integrated data. Document control and regulatory compliance are difficult for any health system to maintain manually.

Providing policy managers with a simple, searchable and scalable enterprise policy management solution enables staff to collaboratively manage, maintain and provide governance over your policy library.

Using an integrated approach, administrators can ensure that all policies are centrally located, consistent and easy to understand. They also can view real-time tracking of who has read each policy, when they last read it and any edits made, ensuring that all staff are current on the latest changes.

It also adds a valuable level of connectivity to compliance operations. The power of connecting evidence-based requirements from accreditors, equipment manufacturers and regulators to everyday processes and policies empowers an organization to maintain the higher quality of care and accreditation standards that are critical to providing safer care.

The benefits of integration can help bring organizations one step closer to the ultimate shared goal of zero harm in patient care.

Policies are a living and breathing part of healthcare organizations, which means they will require regular review to best support patients and staff members. By sharing data across quality, risk and policy departments, health systems will be uniquely positioned to break down internal silos and create a safer environment with increased patient safety reporting and higher quality policies and procedures.

Return to the April 2023 COVERstory

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