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GE Healthcare Taps SAS For Patient Safety Analytics

Business intelligence software will analyze healthcare datasets, looking for patterns and trends that can help hospitals prevent adverse medical events.
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As the healthcare industry moves from paper-based to digitized medical records, there will be greater opportunity for analytical tools to uncover patterns in clinical data to improve the quality of care, GE officials said.

"The relationship with SAS is important because at the heart of the patient safety problem is a lack of information. Meaning, healthcare has not had enough data about near misses and adverse events to pinpoint the causal factors of mistakes," Terry explained.

He also said safety and event reporting is complementary to electronic medical records (EMRs), and that data analytics can improve the utility of EMRs.

"In the EMR, information about the patient's diagnosis and treatment is managed. But, the EMR will not reflect that tomorrow the patient might get an infection -- unrelated to the principal complaint -- that will cause him to stay an extra four days. Our work in safety is to pinpoint and reduce the risks that these unintended errors will [have on] the patient," Terry said.

PSO members will collect and report adverse event data through a single, common Web-based medical event reporting system (MERS). The MERS enables members to not only capture more event reports and near misses, but to also capture more data in each report on a common platform. The PSO attempts to identify factors contributing to increased risk by looking across large numbers of hospitals. It will share findings among member organizations, which can apply that knowledge before errors occur.

"GE's commitment to the rigorous analysis of patient safety data, to improve the quality of healthcare, is consistent with SAS' mission to provide a robust solution for data analysis," Carl Farrell, executive vice president of SAS Americas, said in a statement. "We look forward to working with GE Healthcare on this important project and playing a role in helping providers make more strategic, informed decisions to improve patient safety."

In related news, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has listed the GE-MERS National Patient Safety Organization (GE PSO) as part of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) PSO program. With this federal certification, GE Healthcare Performance Solutions joins leading healthcare organizations across the U.S. working to minimize risks associated with patient care.