Early adopter hospitals around the U.S. have driven dramatic gains in safety by monitoring patients' electronic health records (EHRs) for signals of harm events. This automated approach, which enables real-time identification of hundreds of known safety “triggers,” is the focus of a voluntary pilot in Massachusetts hospitals that the Betsy Lehman Center plans to launch in the coming year. With broad adoption, automated EHR surveillance could lead to better patient care throughout the health care system — from the bedside, where clinicians will have actionable information about adverse events, to statewide improvement efforts informed by comprehensive, up-to-date information.

Reflecting on why he joined the Betsy Lehman Center’s Virtual Peer Support Network, Steven Defossez, M.D., says talking with colleagues has helped him through some difficult times during his career as a radiologist. Dr. Defossez is Vice President of Clinical Integration at the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association and co-chair of a task force on physician burnout led by MHA and the Massachusetts Medical Society. He and other volunteers who represent a diversity of roles and disciplines in health care are trained and ready to listen, offering encouragement and resources to colleagues who contact the network for support.

September is Sepsis Awareness Month, which brings heightened attention to ongoing efforts to improve early detection and treatment of this deadly condition. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a new set of guidelines and tools to help hospitals optimize sepsis programs and improve survival rates. In Massachusetts, a consortium of health care organizations earlier issued recommendations for emergency departments and post-acute care and now promotes an annual public service campaign, available in English and Spanish, to raise awareness of sepsis.

Upcoming events
Sep. 26
2 - 3 p.m.
The Veterans Health Administration's journey to high reliability. In the next webinar from the AHRQ-led National Action Alliance to Advance Patient Safety, Gerard R. Cox, M.D., M.H.A., will highlight the VHA's efforts to become a high-reliability organization, with a focus on how to create a learning health system. Register here
Sept. 29
10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
10th annual Communication, Apology and Resolution (CARe) Forum. The 2023 CARe Forum at the Betsy Lehman Center will present case simulations and other material for live discussion in Boston, with an option to join live online. Attendees must register in advance. Two options to register:
Nov. 3
7:30 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Best medical practices: Maximizing skills and minimizing risks in the primary care setting. Co-directed by faculty from Beth Israel Lahey Health, Brigham & Women’s Hospital and CRICO, this course aims to maximize providers’ diagnostic skills for the most common diagnoses seen in primary care malpractice cases. Register here
Patient Safety Beat is published by the Betsy Lehman Center, a Massachusetts state agency that supports providers, patients and policymakers working together to advance the safety and quality of health care.