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Data, Communication, and Transparency Fuel Denver Health’s Safety Initiatives

With widely distributed Epic reports and dashboards, everyone can keep safety goals in their sights

Reducing preventable harm is front and center at Denver Health. As part of their Target Zero program, reports on patient safety events are regularly distributed organization-wide to everyone from custodial staff, to clinicians, to executives. Interventions in response to these reports prevented an estimated 92 adverse events in two years.

Denver Health measures seven adverse health events, including C. diff infections and falls. Instead of more traditional rate-based metrics, their reports include raw counts to help keep the data personal for staff.

Staff access a patient safety dashboard in Epic, where they can see trends by unit or investigate root causes of adverse events for specific patients. Many clinical managers post these unit summaries in staff areas as reminders, and changes in a unit’s metrics can prompt conversations in clinician huddles about how to improve patient safety. On the organization’s intranet, every staff member can see a monthly summary of adverse events grouped by type across the organization.

“For the frontline clinicians to stay engaged, they have to see the impact that they’re making for patients,” said Mary Ann McEntee, director of patient safety and quality at Denver Health. “You have to let them know how they’re doing. They are the reason that our quality scores are going up.”

Read more about Denver Health’s safety initiative in their Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality case study. Epic community members can learn more from Denver Health’s UGM slides and audio.