Catalyze Innovation that Advances Health

Improving Patient Safety Through Visual Analytics and Data Science

Patient safety event overview dashboard

 

Summary

The team seeks to effectively analyze and display patient safety event data to help improve interventions.


Team

MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare


Background

Most healthcare organizations collect patient safety event report data, which describe everything from near misses (a safety issue that almost reached a patient) to harm events (the patient was directly affected). Effectively analyzing these reports is a critical step for understanding where improvements need to be made. 

Many organizations collect tens of thousands of patient safety reports and have difficulties analyzing these data quickly to identify relevant patterns and trends. Because the reports also contain a text description, it is not feasible to read each and every report. Consequently, organizations focus only on the small number of reports in which patients have suffered harm. They miss the opportunity to more rigorously analyze the totality of reports where a potential safety issue surfaced, identify patterns and trends before patients are harmed, and act to prevent future harm.

Idea

To help address this major challenge, the MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare team has developed an intuitive and interactive safety report visual dashboard. The dashboard allows safety leaders and analysts to quickly explore the data by seeing information at a department level while also seeing global trends across departments. The dashboard helps identify safety hazards more quickly. 

We have also used data science techniques to develop algorithms that can more quickly analyze thousands of reports, including the free text, to identify specific themes and contributing factors pertaining to the safety issue. These algorithms rely on natural language processing and other techniques to make sense of the reports in a way that was never before possible. 

Impact

The intuitive dashboard is being used by several safety analysts across MedStar Health and has also been shared with other healthcare systems as a model for how to make these report data more accessible. 

Similarly, the algorithms are being applied directly to data at MedStar Health to identify important safety event themes and contributing factors. The algorithms have also been shared with other hospitals including the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. 

Images

Note: Click images to enlarge them.

Patient safety event overview dashboard
Weekly dashboard
Patient safety event dashboard