University of Rochester (UR) Medicine knows firsthand the complex challenges of managing alerts and recalls. Its paper-driven, manual procedure was being handled by a single staff member who received and distributed up to 50 new safety notices weekly. It was often difficult to determine which hospital staff were responsible for reviewing and responding to alerts. The process was becoming overwhelming.
“In the past,” says Jerry Jo LaPointe, inventory specialist, materials management at UR Medicine’s Strong Memorial Hospital, “we would receive alerts by mail or e-mail, distribute paper notices to the affected departments, and allow two weeks to receive a response, only to find that the notices were not always received by the correct staff and would have to be reassigned. The process was time-consuming and there could be up to 25 alerts outstanding at any given time.”
UR Medicine turned to Alerts Tracker™ to automate and streamline its process. ECRI Institute’s web-based alerts management system electronically distributes time-critical, high-quality health safety alerts directly to the appropriate staff and offers easy reporting tools to help monitor compliance. Alerts Tracker now supports a network of 80 UR Medicine staff who share information and collaborate on resolution of alerts affecting departments across the health system.
“Alerts Tracker is a very intuitive system,” says Karen Kelly, manager, finance and analytics, contracts and supply chain management. “Training and implementation was very easy," she continues, "with on the job training as staff were added. It didn’t take long for them to run with it.”
Quarterly results presented to UR Medicine’s environment of care committee and patient safety council have been very well-received. “We produce customized reports on key metrics," says Kelly, “to show, over a snapshot of time, how many alerts are open and how many are resolved by department and staff member, as well as every action that’s been taken on an alert or recall.”
Alerts Tracker has helped UR Medicine transform a manual, labor-intensive process into a safe and streamlined system of networked patient safety champions.
“At the end of the last quarter, our percentage of overall compliance, or alerts resolved, was close to 98%,” states Kelly. “What was once a monumental task for one person has become a streamlined, shared responsibility. Alerts Tracker gives us greater assurance that alerts and recalls are being communicated, addressed, and resolved.”
Learn more about Alerts Tracker membership.