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Tracking

“The staff at Mount Auburn Medical Associates set out to raise their patients' colorectal cancer screening rate–and succeeded in pushing it up over 90%. [They conducted] a year-long effort to improve patient tracking and follow-up.”

–Patient Safety Beat

Track and measure results

It is important to keep careful track of patient safety events and outcomes. Not only will this let you see how your organization’s performance changes over time, but it will also tell you whether changes your organization makes in specific areas are improving the safety of care in that unit or during that particular procedure.

  • ​Identify possible outcome measures that will help you decide if new changes you’ve made are improving the way you deliver care
    • For example, if you are changing the process for ordering vaccines, you might track the number of wrong vaccinations administered.
    • See Objectives for more about setting appropriate goals before you start testing a change.
  • Use data to track change over time
    • Compare safety performance at your organization to your objectives and to past performance.
    • Track reported close calls and areas of potential harm, not only adverse events.
    • Focus on processes that are most prone to adverse events such as care transitions, time-pressured decisions, or high-alert medication prescriptions.
    • Keeping track of these reports will help with setting goals for improvement in order to prevent adverse events before they happen
  • Make data available
    • Consider tracking progress with a visual “dashboard” that all staff can see.
    • This may include maintaining an online system on your organization’s intranet as well as drawing charts and figures on a whiteboard during check-ins.
    • Set regular times for leadership to review progress.
  • Learn from the data
    • Was there an improvement? Can you replicate and/or spread the change?
    • Was there no improvement? Try to determine why not. Consider an alternative approach to preventing the safety hazard or concern.