In many hospitals, physicians sometimes have trouble keeping up with STAT orders as these orders are found somewhere within patient records in the EHR. Physicians often fail to access the EHR while being engaged with patients or travelling and this makes them to occasionally miss orders. This issue could be neutralized if notifications or automatic alerts are introduced in the EHR. Here are a few ways proactive alerts can help improve patient safety.

Speeding up the risk response time

Proactive alerts can help hospitals speed up their risk response time. There are multiple solutions available for detecting clinical deterioration signs. These could be early warning score systems and go as high as algorithms pulling data from various sources to pinpoint when a patient will be nearing trouble and caregivers should be sent risk warnings. These real-time alerts can effectively speed up response time.

Preventing drug overuse

If caregivers are given timely reminders of accessing patient pain levels and administer medications appropriately (and at the right time), the drug overuse issue can be solved. When medications are prescribed to patients, the electronic medical records software can start a timer and send a reminder to the physicians when needed. This was physicians would know how long a patient has been taking which medicine and when they should stop taking them.

Patient falls and related injuries

Rapid and timely bed exit response is important for preventing patient falls. A hospital reduced patient falls by 11% and fall-related injuries by a whopping 60% in its first year of introducing bed exit notifications. These notifications were sent to hospital’s care team members on their mobile devices and it resulted in $1.27 million worth of savings. Another hospital reduced patient falls by 88% just by introducing call alerts directly to nurses.

These were some of the ways where proactive alerts and alarms helped in enhancing patient safety significantly. It’s a good practice for the alarm committee to timely assess alert utilization and make right decisions about alarm management. On the overall, timely notifications to caregivers about their patients’ health can acutely help improve patient safety and care quality given by a medical practice.