Health care is information dependent--from clinical decision making to operational management and business planning. However, information overload has been linked to reduced decision quality and potential patient safety errors. The Institute for the Design of Environments Aligned for Patient Safety (IDEA4PS) intends to cut across disease, addressing how feedback of information, often mediated through tools and technology, impacts the adaptation of the work system and processes through which patient safety is enhanced. The projects included in the institute follow from this-innovative focus on adaptation. Researchers have noted a significant gap in the literature in this area and the need for such work. We will study the adaptation of a health system to new information models and in turn learn how systems adapt. For example, we know that the technology linked to care has created an environment where alarms have become white noise. Therefore, project one will focus telemetry alarms, seeking to improver what engineers call the signal to noise ratio, thereby allowing clinicians to focus on meaningful events over the din of background noise, leading to an improvement in the safety and quality of patient care. The second project focusses specifically on hospital acquired infections (HAIs). Despite the widespread use of EHRs, many hospitals continue to perform infection control surveillance retrospectively and often through manual review of records, which is both time consuming and labor intensive. We propose to explore this problem and its potential solutions. Finally, Project 3 was developed to explore how the hospital-wide use of MyChart Bedside (MCB) - an impatient EHR portal - is impacting the provider work system and processes. The goal of the project is to identify workflow modifications and potential changes to the MCB technology that can moderate the flow of secure messages from patients into the work systems.
IDEA4PS will enable the integration in system engineering, design, human factors, organizational behavior, evaluation and data analysis to explore the way feedback of information is incorporated into the adaptation of work systems to enhance patient safety. Our intent is to frame the institute as one that focuses on how all kinds of data, currenty collected and newly acquired, are leveraged to actionable information and linked to patient outcomes.