Identify and reduce patient safety threats before they manifest in actual harm

Hospital-acquired injuries are the third leading cause of death behind cardiovascular disease and cancer. We believe that a multi-disciplinary effort on eliminating preventable medical harms will improve quality outcomes, provider efficiency, and team communication – all to ensure our patients stay safe at BWH. Our team has developed a Patient Safety Dashboard tool for clinical staff in the Medicine, Oncology, and Neurology Care Units. Data is gathered from various siloed parts of the electronic health record and placed in one convenient display, prompting interdisciplinary conversations regarding patient safety concerns. Tailored and personalized for each service, the patient safety dashboard will encourage a collective, multi-disciplinary focus on preventing avoidable harms.

The Patient Safety Dashboard will give clinicians information in real-time on relevant safety categories such as hospital-acquired infections and blood clots, and will also provide clinical decision support for items that require a certain action. This will allow clinical staff to identify high-risk states at the unit-wide and patient-specific levels so that risks can be appropriately resolved before they have the chance to progress or manifest in harm. 

Developing tools to engage patients, family, and care team members

In collaboration with the Healthcare Systems Engineering program at Northeastern University, the Patient Safety Dashboard was built with the consideration of human factors and usability during its development. A pilot version was implemented in the Medical Intensive Care Unit in Fall 2015. Currently, the study is currently in its intervention arm and various units have been going live with this tool since December 2016. The pilot implementation has provided an opportunity to enhance the software and to correct any bugs, and the innate study design has allowed us to learn from our mistakes and improve with consecutive releases of the dashboard to our assigned study units.

We are determined to make our tools as convenient and user-friendly as possible so that our doctors, nurses, and other clinical staff can truly focus on keeping the patient safe and improving their health. We have held multiple focus groups and interviews with patients, clinicians, and the Patient Family Advisory Council at BWH to gather feedback on our tools. This iterative development process captures the spirit of our goal to engage everyone involved in the provision of patient care.

You may contact the investigator on this project, Dr. Jeffrey Schnipper at or at 617-285-4512 if you have any questions.


This project is supported by grant number P30HS023535 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. | © 2015