Pennsylvania’s Patient Safety Authority Selects MedStar Health Research Institute to Improve Patient Safety through Innovative Machine Learning

HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The Patient Safety Authority (PSA) today announced a contract awarded to MedStar Health Research Institute (MHRI) to identify critical patient safety trends using advanced machine learning technologies. Through its use of cutting-edge statistical models and algorithms, the MHRI team will analyze information collected in PSA’s database—the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System (PA-PSRS)—the largest of its kind in the country with nearly 4 million reports.

MHRI’s expertise will help identify areas where new improvements and protocols can be applied to shape the future of safe and effective patient care by providing a quicker and more thorough analysis than had previously been possible. For instance, MHRI algorithms analyze the “free text” descriptions of safety reports at a greater scale and speed, which often provide valuable details about safety issues and their causes. This helps to more accurately categorize issues and obtain other valuable information that may have previously been underutilized due to limited time and resources. 

“There comes a time when you need to look at things differently and explore new possibilities that will catalyze improvement in safe patient care. Now is that time,” said Regina Hoffman, PSA executive director. “MedStar Health Research Institute was selected not only for the value of their advanced analytical capabilities, but also because of the way their team complements ours. Together we bring world-class expertise to Pennsylvania healthcare facilities so they can provide safer care for patients.” 

The work will be led by principal investigator, Raj Ratwani, PhD, Director of the MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, a partner of MHRI that is embedded in the MedStar Institute for Innovation in Washington, D.C. The MHRI team is contracted to validate and analyze all acute care events and nursing home infection reports quarterly, identify patterns, and make recommendations for action and changes, and the MedStar Health Human Factors Center is uniquely positioned to do so given its experience at the intersection of research, innovation, and action to inform patient care.

“We are honored to work with PSA to analyze such an extensive database of patient safety information and have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the future of care across Pennsylvania,” said Dr. Ratwani. “The application of our advanced and proven machine learning algorithms at this scale presents a bold opportunity that we believe will bring wide-reaching value to patients and care providers and help move the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania forward as a leader in safe and effective patient care.”

Pennsylvania is the only state in the U.S. that requires healthcare facilities to report events that could potentially cause harm to patients, as well as events that have been shown to cause harm. PSA uses this data to identify issues and opportunities for improvement that are not apparent at the individual facility level. By identifying and understanding these issues, PSA can alert Pennsylvania’s healthcare facilities to immediate dangers or unseen chronic conditions and recommend changes in practice and procedures to prevent patient harm in the future.

The collaboration is underway now and is led by a team of experts in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, research, human factors, informatics, and data science and analysis. The MedStar Health Human Factors Center leverages this diverse expertise to create a safer and more efficient healthcare environment through four core services in research, usability, safety advisement, and education.

About the Patient Safety Authority
The Patient Safety Authority’s mission is to improve the quality of healthcare in Pennsylvania by collecting and analyzing patient safety information, developing solutions to patient safety issues, and sharing this information through education and collaboration. Its vision is safe healthcare for all patients. Established under the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (MCARE) Act of 2002 the Authority, an independent state agency, collects and analyzes patient safety data to improve safety outcomes and help prevent patient harm. 

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SOURCE Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority

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