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VigiLanz and the EHR – A Powerful Synergy for Patient Safety

By Bridget Evans, MS, CPPS

Electronic health records (EHRs) are an essential part of healthcare as we know it today. While almost all modern healthcare institutions use a certified EHR, its purpose has certainly evolved over time – from tracking activities for billing purposes, to becoming a complex clinical documentation system for all vital patient information within a care setting. However, it’s no secret that distilling relevant insights from these mountains of disparate data can be challenging.

Dr. Kedar Mate, MD, CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), recently published an article titled “The Electronic Health Record Can Be The Hero, Not the Enemy,” emphasizing the immense potential that EHRs hold for enhancing patient safety – particularly when combined with novel processes and technologies that can help clinicians translate the EHR into meaningful intelligence.

The article referenced several inspiring innovations that are helping to move the needle on what is possible in this arena, and I think it’s important to mention one more. VigiLanz has been at the forefront of real-time clinical surveillance for more than twenty years – and when it comes to patient safety, we’re currently leveraging the EHR to pioneer the automatic capture of safety events, also known as autodetection, within our patient safety platform.

Every day, far too many patients are harmed due to medical errors, healthcare acquired infections, and other preventable events. Of these, we know that only 10 to 20 percent are ever reported, resulting in many missed opportunities to learn from these mistakes. Our safety surveillance software can help close this gap with autodetection – a groundbreaking technology that supports and expands on human reporting activities by using EHR data to automatically identify safety incidents that may otherwise have been missed. This can help overcome common event reporting barriers and empower clinical teams to capture more events, learn from them, and more effectively reduce risk.

To illustrate the impact of our autodetection capabilities, we conducted a comparative analysis of adverse drug event autodetection versus manual reporting at CHRISTUS Health. Over 18 months of retrospective analysis, the results were astounding – a 400% increase in adverse drug reactions (ADRs) were identified with autodetection. On average, autodetection outperformed facilities relying on voluntary reporting by identifying 8.7 times more ADRs. That’s an incredible difference!

But our capabilities extend beyond autodetection. Our suite of clinical surveillance and patient safety solutions all integrate seamlessly with the EHR and are designed to work together to provide comprehensive protection for clinicians and patients. For example, when an event is identified in the pharmacy module, it can trigger the creation of a safety event which is then documented and investigated in the safety module. This integrated approach ensures organizations are well-informed about a wide range of events through data tracking, trend analysis, and insights into close calls or serious harm incidents – all without solely relying on frontline staff for reporting.

As we look toward the future of patient safety, Dr. Mate challenges us to continue looking for ways to fully harness the power of the EHR. “What else might we accomplish by strategically using the EHR to improve the quality of care?” he writes. At VigiLanz, we have dedicated more than two decades to this question, and firmly believe that the answer lies not in the competition, but in the collaboration and partnership between EHR vendors, healthcare institutions, and technology providers. Our strengths complement each other, and maximizing them will allow clinical teams around the world to prevent harm, improve safety, and provide the highest quality data-driven patient care. Together, we can promote meaningful change.

Learn more about how our clinical surveillance and patient safety solutions are helping clinicians prevent harm, improve safety, and provide the highest quality patient care.