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Adopting Real-Time Surveillance Dashboards as a Component of an Enterprisewide Medication Safety Strategy

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Abstract:

Background: High-alert medications are frequently responsible for adverse drug events and present significant hazards to inpatients, despite technical improvements in the way they are ordered, dispensed, and administered.

Methods: A real-time surveillance application was designed and implemented to enable pharmacy review of high-alert medication orders to complement existing computerized provider order entry and integrated clinical decision support systems in a tertiary care hospital. The surveillance tool integrated real-time data from multiple clinical systems and applied logical criteria to highlight potentially high-risk scenarios. Use of the surveillance system for adult inpatients was analyzed for warfarin, heparin and enoxaparin, and aminoglycoside antibiotics.

Results: Among 28,929 hospitalizations during the study period, patients eligible to appear on a dashboard included 2,224 exposed to warfarin, 8,383 to heparin or enoxaparin, and 893 to aminoglycosides. Clinical pharmacists reviewed the warfarin and aminoglycoside dashboards during 100% of the days in the study period—and the heparin/enoxaparin dashboard during 71% of the days. Displayed alert conditions ranged from common events, such as 55% of patients receiving aminoglycosides were missing a baseline creatinine, to rare events, such as 0.1% of patients exposed to heparin were given a bolus greater than 10,000 units. On the basis of interpharmacist communication and electronic medical record notes recorded within the dashboards, interventions to prevent further patient harm were frequent.

Conclusions: Even in an environment with sophisticated computerized provider order entry and clinical decision support systems, real-time pharmacy surveillance of high-alert medications provides an important platform for intercepting medication errors and optimizing therapy.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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