A framework for identifying and addressing potential gaps in healthcare in outpatient settings using electronic clinical surveillance tools has been used to target patient safety across a variety of conditions.

The Kaiser Permanente Southern California Outpatient Safety Net Program (OSNP) is leveraging the power of electronic health records as well as a proactive clinical culture to scan for potential quality improvement opportunities and intervene to improve patient care.

According to a study published in the journal eGEMS, OSNP has been used to address a wide range of safety issues across diverse clinical conditions. The OSNP targets care gaps such as use of conflicting medications that could lead to drug interactions or the need for follow-up tests. This is in contrast to the majority of patient safety programs, which focus on emergency or inpatient care.

Researchers believe this innovative approach can be applied by other healthcare organizations provided that they have key pieces of information in digital format, even if they do not have an EHR or integrated delivery systems.

“The Southern California Outpatient Safety Net program is different from other patient safety programs that are dedicated to inpatient or hospital care because it scans in the background for anything that was missed,” said study author Michael Kanter, M.D. “As other healthcare delivery systems develop and implement similar tools, information sharing of these methods across organizations may help contribute to improvements in outpatient safety more broadly.”

The study is available here.

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