Category: Thought Leadership
March 15 2016
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The National Patient Safety Foundation emphasizes the need to “strive for patient safety and the reduction of harm.” At Cerner, patient safety is a focus every day. Clinicians are reminded of the impact of the largest patient safety risks. Falls, medication errors, infection control, alarm fatigue and the safety of clinicians can all make the difference between a successful clinical visit and an unnecessarily dangerous experience.

Fall risks

Falls are the most frequently reported adverse patient events among adult patients, with approximately 3 to 20 percent of inpatients falling at least once during their hospitalization.

Mission Health recently piloted Cerner’s new virtual observation solution, which uses Microsoft© Kinect© technology to monitor patient movement. In a three-month study, Mission Health reduced inpatient falls to zero through process and technology improvements. According to a study published by The Joint Commission, a fall with injury costs an average of $14,000. By preventing just 20 falls with injury, a hospital could save nearly a quarter of a million dollars.

Medication errors

Adverse drug events also threaten the safety of patients. It is estimated that around 1.3 million patients are injured by medication errors annually and that they cause at least one death every day. This can be related to administering incorrect medications, wrong dosages and/or to the wrong patient.

At the beginning of 2015, Fort HealthCare’s pharmacy technicians had to look at three different applications to verify what medications were dispensed, administered and wasted. Recognizing a need for change in the medication process, Fort HealthCare implemented Cerner’s automated medication dispending machine and improved efficiency by saving an average of 20 seconds per transaction of one medication by the end of 2015

“Our old station had all of the medications in one big drawer, and you had to pick which bin,” said Inpatient Director Pam Kuehl. “With RxStation, it’s just the one drug that’s coming out. The system is automated to the point that the nurse doesn’t have to think. It makes it a safer process.”

Alarm fatigue and alerting intelligence

While most concerns are based around patient-specific risks, it’s also important to understand safety challenges that the clinical staff faces that lead to errors. On a daily basis, nurses are inundated with alarms that may not require clinical intervention.

Preventing nuisance alarms and recognizing meaningful alarms alerts is one part of the fatigue-reduction equation. NCH Healthcare System made great strides to create a culture of alarm safety in recent years. By aligning closely with Cerner, the system reduced non-actionable alarms by 69 percent. A reduction of 176,426 alarms hospital-wide led to what they described as “dramatic improvements.”

Cerner is committed to patient safety and empowering health care professionals to deliver safe, high-quality care.