Awareness of the impact of preventable harm on patients and families has resulted in extensive efforts to make our health care systems safer. We determined that, in our hospital, patients experienced 1 of 9 types of preventable harm approximately every other day. In an effort to expedite early identification of patients at risk and provide timely intervention, we used the electronic health record’s (EHR) documentation to enable decision support, data capture, and auditing and implemented reporting tools to reduce rates of harm.


Harm reduction strategies included aggregating data to generate a risk profile for hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) for all inpatients. The profile includes links to prevention bundles and available care guidelines. Additionally, lists of patients at risk for HACs autopopulate electronic audit tools contained within Research Electronic Data Capture, and data from observational audits and EHR documentation populate real-time dashboards of bundle compliance. Patient population summary reports promote the discussion of relevant HAC prevention measures during patient care and unit leadership rounds.


The hospital has sustained a >30% reduction in harm for 9 types of HAC since 2012. In 2014, the number of HACs with >80% bundle adherence doubled coincident with the progressive rollout of these EHR-based interventions.


Existing EHR documentation and reporting tools may be effective adjuncts to harm reduction initiatives. Additional study should include an evaluation of scalability across organizations, ongoing bundle adherence, and individual tests of change to isolate interventions with the highest impact on our results.

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