Published: Nov. 30, 2010
Updated: Nov. 30, 2010
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure -- so the saying goes. It's no less true within hospitals, where preventable falls can delay a patient's recovery by compounding pre-existing conditions or setting off a series of setbacks.
At Duke, efforts to decrease risks factors for patient falls have been enhanced as a result of the new patient fall reporting module of the DUHS Safety Reporting System (SRS), which went live in April 2009.
In the event of a fall, the module leads frontline reporters through a series of computerized focused questions regarding the incident. The data is stored and summarized into reports, providing safety leaders with timely, accurate, and accessible information regarding falls incidents.
Susan Avent, RN, associate chief nursing officer for quality at Duke University Health System and a falls expert, points out that “the [new] module provides richer data at the unit level as opposed to aggregated data at the hospital-wide level.”
For example, one might deduce from analyzing data at the hospital level that most falls occur between noon and 3:00 p.m. However, unit-level analysis using the new module might find that incidents in specific divisions happen most often between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. “This type of information really helps drive safety improvements,” says Avent.
The new reporting system also improves efficiency and productivity. Julie Whitehurst, PharmD, MPH, a clinical pharmacist who specializes in health analytics and IT patient safety, directed the redesign of the patient fall SRS module. "It saves approximately 400 hours a year in manual data entry and categorization across the entire health system,” she says.
The benefits of the new SRS module were shared at the Duke Patient Safety Conference this past winter and will soon be published in the Journal of Patient Safety.
“Sharing information with other medical institutions about the steps that Duke took to categorize the data and implement the module, as well as its success stories, will enable other health care organizations to realize similar benefits from its adoption,” says Whitehurst.
Here are some benefits of the new patient fall reporting module of the DUHS Safety Reporting System: