A machine learning-based patient safety solution from Israel’s MedAware flagged 10,668 potential errors and adverse drug events in the records of 373,992 patients treated in the outpatient clinics of Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals.
The retrospective study was published in The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.
Looking at a random sample of 300 warnings generated by Medaware, the research team found that 92% of the warnings were accurate based on data available; 79.7% of the warnings were clinically valid; and 68.2% of MedAware’s warnings would not have been flagged by existing decision support systems.
If the Medaware system had been operational, the estimated direct cost savings of the avoidable adverse events would have been more than $1.3 million when extrapolating the study’s findings to the full patient population.
The Israeli technology crowdsources physician practice to identify and prevent medication errors, opioid dependency, evolving adverse drug events and contraindications, and other medication-related risks.
“This study shows that MedAware’s system performed well in identifying important medication-related errors in the ambulatory setting, and that implementing it could result in substantial cost savings,” said co-author Dr. David Bates, a professor at Harvard Medical School and director of the Center for Patient Safety Research & Practice at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
“MedAware’s application enables systems to catch errors they didn’t know they had and which would not have been caught using existing systems,” Bates said. “These can be very serious and have major consequences.”
Aside from the cost in human terms, prescription drug errors result in healthcare costs estimated at more than $20 billion annually in the United States, according to study authors.
Lead author Ronen Rozenblum, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, said “MedAware offers both measurable improvement in patient safety and significant potential cost savings to hospitals at a time when healthcare systems must find every opportunity to drive efficiencies from a financial perspective.”