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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Active surveillance using electronic triggers to detect adverse events in hospitalized patients.

Szekendi MK, Sullivan C, Bobb A, et al. Quality & safety in health care. 2006;15:184-90.

This study demonstrated the effective use of an active surveillance methodology designed to improve on current systems that fail to capture events at the time of occurrence. Investigators evaluated more than 325 medical records that were identified based on electronic triggers to develop their method for reviewing adverse events in real time. The authors discuss the large percentage of preventable adverse events that were discovered along with some of the interventions designed to prevent their recurrence. They also discuss how an active surveillance process would improve on existing hospital-wide efforts to promote patient safety.