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Poor Health Data Management Puts Patients At Risk

But in Minnesota, biggest patient safety risks are pressure ulcers and falls.

More incentive for employers to keep their workers as healthy as possible came this week with the ECRI Institute’s annual ranking of the top 10 safety risks for patients.

The ECRI Institute is an independent healthcare testing and review organization based in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. In its Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns for Healthcare Organizations for 2017  report, ECRI ranked “information management in EHRs” as the No. 1 safety risk facing patients when they enter the health care system.

Electronic health record systems have enabled hospitals, doctors and other providers to collect unheard of amounts of health information on patients. But managing the information and knowing what data to use to make the best clinical decisions for patients are challenging for many providers, ECRI said.

ECRI’s other nine patient safety concerns, in rank order, were:
  1. Unrecognized patient deterioration
  2. Implementation and use of clinical decision support
  3. Test result reporting and follow-up
  4. Antimicrobial stewardship
  5. Patient identification
  6. Opioid administration and monitoring in acute-care settings
  7. Behavioral health issues in non-behavioral health settings
  8. Management of new oral anticoagulants
  9. Inadequate organization systems or processes to improve safety and quality

EHRs, or specifically health information technology, also topped ECRI’s list of patient safety risks last year, as reported by Twin Cities Business

Separately, the most common adverse health event at Minnesota hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers from Oct. 7, 2015, to Oct. 6, 2016, were pressure ulcers and patient falls. That’s according to the Minnesota Department of Health’s most recent report on adverse health events in the state. Together, incidents of pressure ulcers and patient falls totaled 201 and represented nearly 60 percent of the 336 total adverse events during that reporting year, the state said.

The total number of adverse events was up 6.3 percent from the 316 in the previous reporting year. But the number of patient deaths dropped 75 percent to just four from 16, the state said. Three of the four deaths were from patient falls. The fourth death was caused by a medication error.