Due to a substantial change in the pricing structure from their event reporting and Core Measures application vendor, a Louisiana hospital decided to examine the market to see if they could identify a better, more affordable option.
The patient safety department leader had several criteria for their event reporting system. First, affordability was key. Second, the application needed to be easy to use for frontline staff while still providing all the analytics capabilities of a high-quality event reporting tool. Third, it was preferred that their event reporting vendor also offer a Core Measures application rather than bringing on more than one new vendor, which adds time and complexity to the process. And last but not least, customer service was critical.
“So we tried several systems and felt like American Data Network had the best overall package to meet our needs for incident reporting as well as quality reporting,” said the Director of Risk Management & Compliance. “The affordability of the ADN applications was major.”
The Biggest Difference
Since transitioning to ADN, she noted that the level of customer service has been a stark contrast.
“The biggest negative factor of our previous vendor was they did not have the responsiveness ADN has. Now, when I call, somebody is calling me back and even helping me create the report. It’s really, really amazing customer service. On a scale of 1 to 10, ADN is a 10 and the other company was a 6. You waited forever for somebody to get back to you,” she said.
Recently, the department received a request from the corporate office for an extensive patient safety report. While able to run the report herself, she wanted to customize it further to provide an additional level of descriptive detail that would be beneficial to the senior leadership audience; so she reached out to ADN for help. “ADN got back to me in no time, had it all done, talked me through it, and then sent written directions after,” the Director said.
She conveyed that in her experience, subpar customer service can hinder a facility from fully leveraging an application. With any robust system, being able to truly take advantage of its capabilities often extends beyond a user manual and relies on customer support. “You can pay for something with 200,000 features, but if you only use 50 of them, what’s the point? ADN promised to and delivered-on how to maximize the use of their application,” she said.
Ease of Use
When it comes to event reporting, not all applications are created equal. Items like unnecessary questions that don’t get circumvented with intelligent skip logic or requiring login credentials for every reporter can be burdensome to frontline staff.
An independent review of ADN’s event reporting application by a patient safety and risk management expert revealed it to be one of the easiest to use on the market for both frontline staff and managers.
And the Director for the Louisiana hospital agrees. “For frontline staff, it was very easy to use. We put a link on our intranet, and they could just click it to report an event without needing a username and password. In fact, the frontline didn’t require much training because it’s very straightforward,” she said.
From an event management perspective for department leaders, she noted that the ADN application is more intuitive and easier to use. “You can easily see what’s been done and what still requires action to progress through the event management phases.”
The Director conveyed that perhaps most critical to swift event investigation and resolution is well-designed collaboration functionality. She recounted a recent event involving a mislabeled specimen that led to results on the wrong patient. “The lab and the department were trying to determine if the patient had an armband. They were able to use the in-app commenting feature to communicate and uncover the root of the problem. ADN’s tool allowed for quick investigation, collaboration, and documentation,” she said.
“Our previous system lacked an efficient workflow for delegating event investigations”, she said. As a leader in the organization, the most prudent use of her time is on strategic items that move the organization forward. The ease of delegation and coordination within ADN’s system allows her to focus on the bigger picture. “Event management at the department level is very beneficial,” she said. “Managers can review the event details, document their findings, and make recommendations to prevent recurrence. Then, I can complete the final assessment to make sure adequate supporting documentation is included and close the event.”
A Patient Safety Leader’s Perspective on Paper vs Electronic
Although their prior event reporting system was also electronic, the Director worked at the hospital when the organization collected event data on paper. With many facilities still relying on a paper process, she was eager to share her perspective on why it’s next to impossible to build and sustain a high reliability organization using a paper method.
Moving at the Speed of Sound Data
One of the essential elements impacting an organization’s ability to improve patient safety is speed. The pace at which you learn about and act on incidents, near misses, and unsafe conditions directly correlates to a proactive or reactive culture of safety.
“In our old paper system, staff had to complete a 4-page event form and then physically route it to the manager. As you can imagine, this led to delays. Additionally, it could take another 2 to 3 days for our managers to process the event reports, which is problematic when trying to be proactive,” she said. “It was a really slow collection process with long lag times between when the event occurred and when the safety team learned about it. We had to change.”
She underscored her philosophy about the speed of insight and its gravity for patient safety. “If you don’t know that something is happening, it’s likely to keep happening until you do. Having instant knowledge of event reports that can be assessed is…I’m not sure ‘vital’ is a strong enough word,” the Director said. “You can’t continue kicking the can down the road using a paper system that is going to keep you in a delayed, reactive position.”
ADN’s electronic reporting system sends instant notifications to all relevant managers to promote timely communication and follow-up. And as the event ages, automated reminders are sent so the event doesn’t get overlooked. “This ensures the appropriate people can get the ball rolling so that an event report doesn’t sit for a week or more before we are even aware,” she said.
Every minute that passes after an event occurs, your ability to act on that event while the patient is still at your facility decreases. And just as important, if not more so, is what you’re able to learn about the event to prevent it from happening again in the future also suffers. “If you start an investigation a week or more after the event occurs, the frontline reporter is less likely to remember the details,” she said. “So you lose the information integrity from your witness, which can lead to a less effective action plan.”
Culture & Ability to Drive Change
The Director emphasized that a patient safety leader’s ability to drive change directly correlates with the ability to promptly pair the event with the action plan. “Staff are more receptive to practice changes and understand the impact better when the corrective actions more quickly follow the event.”
Rapidly driving change is not only advantageous to patients but also to employees. “They can see that you take patient safety seriously and are working to address the underlying root causes,” she said.
To her, the quality of the event reporting process has significant implications for a facility’s culture of safety. “A strong event reporting process gives the staff a sense that this is a culture of people who care about what happens to the patient. And they are committed to looking into reported issues and resolving them.”
Detecting Patterns & Trends vs Analysis Paralysis
The Director noted that a major shortcoming of a paper process (and sometimes even homegrown or electronic vendor systems) is robust data analysis. “When sharing a report or updating leadership, you need more than a spreadsheet to convey what’s going on,” she said. “And with the ADN application, I can easily track KPIs and provide others with a visual representation of our patient safety performance in no time.”
There are still times when a well-built spreadsheet is beneficial for reviewing raw data, but it isn’t ideal for obtaining a centralized view of performance or the most efficient way to drill down to discern correlating relationships and contributing factors. “The dashboards make it really easy to view the data in different ways to detect trends, patterns, and abnormalities. With spreadsheets, it’s often hard to pick up on shifts in the data. But with ADN’s dashboards, you can look at the data from every angle and really drill down into the information,” she said. “I keep my dashboards set on a monthly view. And if something is starting to look odd, I dig deeper to see if it’s a trend over the past 6 months. Then with just a click, I can break the months into weeks and determine if the shift is new or if it only happened in the last 7 days.”
She relayed a tangible example of how they used ADN’s Dashboards to unearth a trend that was quickly diagnosed and resolved. “We noticed an uptick in staff needle sticks. Upon investigating, we learned that Materials Management changed supply companies. Using the dashboards, we were able to associate the uptick with the vendor change and ultimately we went back to the previous company.”
She noted that ADN’s real-time dashboards have been extremely helpful for improving communication and transparency with internal committees and the Board of Directors. The analytics dashboards “have been able to open people’s eyes and increase their understanding of our overall patient safety performance, including our staff’s timeliness in reporting events, our department’s approach to closing the loop, and our organization’s commitment to using the data to learn and improve care.”
What This Means for You…
How fast can you act on an incident, near miss, or unsafe condition? How quickly did you learn about it in the first place? How long does it take you to uncover fractured systems and processes buried in your data? If the answer to any of these questions is “not fast enough,” reach out today and let us help your team Move at the Speed of Sound Data.