What to look for in patient safety software

January 30, 2020 Polly Kirk

First, we are presuming your organisation needs patient safety software. If this is a lingering question for your executive team, then let’s address that first.

As healthcare continues to shift to a value-based system, improving outcomes and tracking both processes and results has become a strategic imperative. While paper-based systems may have worked a decade or two ago, learning from the vast amounts of patient safety and quality improvement data being collected by your organisation now requires substantial computing power.

Second, without patient safety software, you are likely to miss opportunities to reduce medical errors simply because you can’t see the patient safety forest for the trees. With patient safety software, you are able evolve to a true learning organisation, with the software identifying trends in the data that data analysts – no matter how skilled they might be at Excel – simply aren’t able to do.

Third, to ensure alignment with the healthcare metrics that are now at the forefront of the current value-based system, your patient safety and enterprise risk management solution should include – at a minimum – the ability to record, track, analyse, and report on incidents, patient experience, claims, and complaints.

Let’s Drill Down

But that’s not all your software system should do. To effectively reduce the frequency and impact of adverse events, your software needs to provide incident reporting, learning, and resolution tools that measurably improve safety, quality, and experience for all stakeholders. This includes:

  • Web-based forms, allowing for any staff member to submit an incident report from anywhere at any time.
  • Trending and analysis capabilities, so that you can learn from your data, perform a root cause analysis, craft a performance improvement plan, implement the plan, and collaborate on peer review.
  • Audit trails, so you can easily identify who did what, when.
  • Safety alerts, allowing you to broadcast important safety information around your organisation, tracking receipt of alerts, and monitoring progress in completion of assigned tasks.
  • Real-time problem detection, with active surveillance that enables you to record, manage, and analyse information from across your organisation’s safety and risk areas.
  • Dashboards, that allow users at all levels to easily interpret patient safety data.
  • Robust report capabilities, with the flexibility to produce custom reports appropriately suited to your intended audience.

Vetting Your Vendor

Although the software package you are evaluating might look great on the surface, make sure you conduct due diligence on the software vendor. Here are a few things to ask your potential software partner:

  • What percentage of your clientele are healthcare organisations? You want a vendor who is devoted to healthcare and who understands the unique needs and demands of healthcare organisations. Many safety software organisations have re-purposed their software solutions to fit into the healthcare box. You need a vendor who not only can fit into the box, but also knows the nitty gritty about how the box is constructed.
  • How much do you invest in research and development? The answer you receive will give you an idea of the company’s vision for the future and how committed it is to evolving their products.
  • How involved are you in the implementation process? This will tell you whether the company is sales-oriented or service-oriented. Of course, you want the latter.
  • Where is our data stored? A flexible vendor will allow you to store your data on-site or off-site. After all, it’s your data, and you should be able to make this call.
  • Will you share client case studies with us? This question speaks to the reputation of your potential vendor. A lack of case studies might indicate a small client base or few, if any, happy clients.

RLDatix prides itself on being the global leader in risk management technology and improving healthcare safety outcomes. We are 100% focused on healthcare and committed to reducing the frequency and impact of adverse events. As such, our single focus is to provide the tools that allow your organisation to measurably reduce patient harm while improving safety, quality, and experience. If you are ready to get started, then so are we.

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