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Using Data to Understand Medical Error

by Katy Schuler | March 15, 2018

Data is the most valuable tool we have to understand medical error. Organizations best poised to protect patients from harm and providers from the personal and financial impact of a lawsuit use a data-driven strategy to understand their risk and prioritize their patient safety agendas.

CRICO Strategies’ national Comparative Benchmarking System (CBS) delivers the intelligence organizations need to identify their clinical risks, benchmark against peers, and prioritize their patient safety efforts. Organizations that partner with CRICO Strategies have the unparalleled opportunity to deeply analyze their medical professional liability (MPL) claims data to understand drivers of harm, while participating in an esteemed collaborative community focused on developing best practices to improve patient safety and prevent harm.

The data case study below* is an example of how—through its hospital’s partnership with CRICO Strategies—one clinical service was able to identify risks and implement targeted interventions by deep analysis and comparative benchmarking of its MPL experience.

Data Case Study: Data dive yields unexpected findings

An obstetric service at an urban East Coast hospital faced a spike in MPL claims. To no one’s surprise, analysis of its MPL experience revealed a communication barrier in labor and delivery. One contributing factor was that physicians and nurses were not aligned in how they interpreted and expressed electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) readings, opening the door to miscommunication. To address this, physicians and nurses began attending the same calls—together—so they could learn to share the same terminology and communication expectations.

In addition, the data revealed another—and surprising—vulnerability: The obstetrics service faced a notably larger proportion of prenatal-related malpractice claims than its peers. This news was devastating to the obstetricians, who had not realized the magnitude of this problem. The hospital immediately convened a rapid-turnaround task force to probe the specific issues driving these claims and then took steps to enhance its prenatal care. Changes included better collaboration with resident-managed patients and improved education and follow-up efforts with noncompliant patients in this inner-city population.

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Data from the CRICO Strategies CBS Report, Malpractice Risks in Obstetrics

This hospital’s experience underscores the value of local and comparative data in uncovering an organization’s unique vulnerabilities and helping to identify clear opportunities for targeted interventions.

*Data case example excerpted from Siegal D, Ruoff G. Data as a catalyst for change: Stories from the frontlines. Journal of Healthcare Risk Management. 2015 Jan;34(3):18-25. doi: 10.1002/jhrm.21161. [Subscription may be required.]

WHY PARTNER WITH CRICO STRATEGIES?

Powerful Analytics: Strategies manages a rich database of more than 400,000 cases—with deeply coded causation factors—that can inform risk management strategycrico strategies 20
Expertise: CRICO has 40 years of experience as a trusted partner to the Harvard medical community and 20 years in the national arena
Results: We partner with the best in the business to publish new data and convene regularly with our members and national clients to tackle current issues in MPL risk and patient safety

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