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15 Mar 2021

Patient Safety Awareness Week: Annual Reminder to Advance Quality Healthcare Initiatives

The healthcare industry has made considerable strides in the quality of care over the last decade, as efforts to improve patient safety have reduced hospital-acquired conditions by 17%.[1] Despite this progress, there is still a long way to go.

The World Health Organization estimates that 134 million adverse events occur each year due to unsafe care in hospitals in low- and middle-income countries, resulting in nearly 2.6 million deaths.[2] Additionally, nearly 40% of patients experience harm or adverse events in ambulatory and primary care settings with an estimated 80% of these being preventable.[3]

Highlighting these incidents is the goal of Patient Safety Awareness Week, an annual event of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, taking place March 14-20, 2021. The event is a reminder for healthcare providers, clinicians, and allied health professionals to re-dedicate themselves to the causes of improved patient safety and security as a continuous quality improvement process. Beyond providers, the occasion encourages individuals spanning the technical and information technology aspects of healthcare to increase their understanding of safety within the context of treatment and management of patients, and consider how their solutions can help predict, prevent and reduce patient harm.

As such, the following is an overview of how technology within hospitals can interfere with clinicians’ ability to deliver safe care. Conversely, the post describes how such technology should be improved to help clinicians protect patients and practice more efficiently in fast-paced, mobile environments.

RELATED READING: A New Standard in Patient Safety: Automated Bedside Monitoring

Safety Risks Posed by Technology

In recent years, hospitals have devoted significant resources to implementing state-of-the-art information systems with powerful clinical capabilities. However, numerous technological shortcomings have prevented data from being fully leveraged and utilized to ensure safe and effective care.

Chief among these obstacles is the fragmented medical device landscape, comprised of numerous device types, brands, and versions, which can inhibit data transfer to enterprise health information systems, such as electronic health records (EHRs). The result is inadequate or inefficient data sharing among clinical providers, both of which risk patient safety in terms of miscommunication, resulting in care delays or patient harm. [4]

Miscommunication or omissions in data occur because medical devices may not yet be “connected,” and their data remains siloed inside of hospital departments or not liberated from the medical devices themselves. Unless manually transcribed into the EHR, the value of much medical device data is lost. When data is transcribed, the process typically takes place retrospectively, eliminating any real-time value to prevent patient harm and drive safer care decisions.

Real-time data exchange and accessibility are especially important because hospitals are not static environments. Data needs to be available to multiple end-point systems simultaneously and directly, including mobile, in the format required to provide critical and timely information to clinicians in multiple locations.

Connecting Systems and Data to Protect Patients

To protect patient safety, hospitals must anticipate and think holistically about their medical device integration strategies to help clinicians better monitor, utilize and act on data to prevent adverse events and deliver better outcomes. To accomplish this, a medical device integration solution must be used to derive maximum value from device information from multiple devices simultaneously.

RELATED READING: Streamlining Vitals Technology: The Future of Bedside Care

Capsule Technologies developed a data platform to increase the visibility and knowledge of hospital patients and equip providers with the insight needed to make informed and timely decisions through the liberation of medical device data. Real-time, actionable data delivered to clinicians when and where they need it improves response time and can prevent patient harm.

For example, Capsule’s Medical Device Information Platform (MDIP) — comprised of device integration, vital signs monitoring, and clinical surveillance solutions — captures streaming medical device data from connected medical device components and systems, and transforms it into context-rich information for clinical documentation, alert management, patient surveillance, decision support, predictive analytics, clinical research and more.

Smart Alerts Offer Predictive Insight 

Capsule’s smart medical device integration transforms disparate data outputs into visible, actionable, predictive insight wherever needed. Such predictive insight includes Capsule’s smart alerts, designed to trigger when deviations occur simultaneously among measurements or are shown to change by a percentage over time from baseline values. This enables clinicians to identify a patient who may decompensate even before he exhibits symptoms so a safe and effective intervention can be delivered.

Smart alert notifications are built outside of medical devices, using data from multiple sources associated with a patient, such as her physiological monitor and mechanical ventilator, to indicate such interventional events and help providers deliver the right care at the right time.

Improving Communication and Preventing Errors 

Capsule’s MDIP also prevents the manual data-entry errors that could risk patient safety by automating data capture from devices, which also improves communication and collaboration between care teams and standardizes workflows. In fact, a recent study shows that such automated data entry eliminated errors among nurses while enabling more time for direct patient care.[5]

Capsule is committed to providing a safe, transparent and streamlined approach to care in this way with a comprehensive system that considers the clinical workflow and technology complexities at each step of the care process. From the collection to the communication and application of data for clinical discernment and interventions, providers can harness the true power of medical device data to analyze and act upon it to protect patient safety and improve outcomes.

To learn more about the vendor-neutral interoperability solutions of the Capsule Medical Device Information Platform, please contact us.

Find out how Capsule transforms care delivery and supports patient safety.

Slawomirski L, Auraaen A, Klazinga N. The Economics of Patient Safety in Primary and Ambulatory Care: Flying blind. Paris: OECD; 2018 (, accessed 9 March 2020)
Umberfield E, Ghaferi AA, Krein SL, Manojlovich M. Using Incident Reports to Assess Communication Failures and Patient Outcomes. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2019;45(6):406-413. doi:10.1016/j.jcjq.2019.02.006.
Bauer, Jeffrey C. PhD, FAANP (H); John, Eileen BSN, RN; Wood, Christopher L. MHA, FACHE; Plass, Debra MS, RN; Richardson, Dale MBA Data Entry Automation Improves Cost, Quality, Performance, and Job Satisfaction in a Hospital Nursing Unit, JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration: January 2020 – Volume 50 – Issue 1 – p 34-39 doi: 10.1097/NNA.0000000000000836.,_Quality,.9.aspx