Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tool Supports Patient Safety

The Durham VA Medical Center (VAMC) is using the new “Electronic Patient Event Report” (ePER) tool to bring a whole new level of patient safety to the medical center. The Durham VAMC is the first medical center in the VA Mid-Atlantic Health Care Network (VISN 6) to deploy the web-based patient event reporting system.

By using this tool, the entire staff can now submit event reports to the staff as compared to the previous reporting system that was limited to certain clinical staff. The staff has been trained at all nine sites of care under the Durham VAMC to use the system.

New functionality gives supervisors access to daily reports and saves staff time because the ePER is easier to use than the VistA based system. Staff will still report events to supervisors as soon as possible, but this new tool provides a safety net to assure that information does not slip through the cracks.

Falls, medication errors, and other events unfortunately can occur, but the ePER helps identify these events, mitigate their effects, and develop processes to prevent re-occurrences. The system is able to evaluate other patient safety interventions such as patient safety reviews, perform root cause analysis, sentinel event reporting, clinical focus reviews, and peer reviews. It is now possible to track and trend data, analyze the information, and implement real changes in a thoughtful data driven manner.

The tool helps the staff understand the circumstances around incidents and the timing of events. “It enables us to drill down into data to better enable safe, patient care,” said Sue Benware, Associate Chief Nurse for Performance Improvement and Practice at the medical center. “The system provides the data needed to drive decisions around patient care, Benware added.