Children's Hospital Colorado

EHR Documentation Reduces Preventable Harm

Children's Hospital Colorado | September 08, 2017
Three women in discussion holding a document.

The awareness of preventable harm to patients and families recently resulted in efforts to make our health care systems safer. Chief medical and patient safety officer, Dan Hyman, MD, and his colleagues used Electronic Health Record (EHR) documentation to expedite early identification of at-risk patients and provide timely intervention. The EHR documentation enabled decision support, data capture and implemented reporting tools to reduce rates of harm. As a result, we have sustained more than 30 percent reduction in harm for hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) since 2012.

The research was recently published in Pediatrics. 

Aim to reduce hospital-acquired harm

“Our team’s specific aim was to reduce nine types of hospital-acquired harm for all inpatients and outpatients cared for at all Children’s Colorado locations by 40 percent over a two-year period,” said Dr. Hyman. “The first three years of implementation of this program have resulted in significant reductions in preventable harm. Our next steps are to work on improving and sustaining reliable evidence-based prevention.”

Harm reduction strategies

Strategies in reducing harm included compiling data to generate a risk profile for HACs for all inpatients. A comprehensive program called “Target Zero” was implemented in early 2013 to address HACs. This program included training for all providers and staff in error prevention practices, leadership method training, and an enhanced cause analysis program. In addition to EHR-based efforts to improve process, other interventions focused on team communication strategies, personal error prevention practices, patient safety culture, and leadership engagement in safety improvement efforts. 

The EHR-based documentation was among a number of changes implemented at Children’s Colorado over the past several years with the goal to reduce the rate of preventable harm experienced by patients. 

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