The pandemic’s enduring, positive impact on patient safety | Star Tribune

By David Goldsteen, CEO of VigiLanz.

A few months before COVID-19 turned our country upside down, the health care industry celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Institute of Medicine’s landmark report “To Err is Human.” The report — which noted that medical errors cause between 44,000 and 98,000 deaths every year — increased awareness regarding the rate of preventable errors and commenced a nationwide push to prevent them.

In an article commemorating the anniversary, Dr. Mark Chassin, president and CEO of the Joint Commission, which accredits U.S. hospitals and sets rigorous safety standards, wrote, “It’s been 20 years, and we haven’t moved the quality and safety needle as much as we had hoped.”

As an emergency medicine physician, I’ve seen firsthand the high rate of preventable medical errors. I agree with Chassin. I also can’t help wondering whether the industry would have moved faster to make patient safety improvements had it known what would hit the U.S. in February 2020.

After more than 575,000 deaths in the U.S. alone due to COVID-19, I believe the answer is yes. We would have moved faster.

Read more from the original article on the Star Tribune.

Insights from Real Hospitals: The Margin-Enhancing Benefits of Patient Safety

We recently released results from an economic value assessment of clinical surveillance by healthcare consultancy Sage Growth Partners. The results were extremely exciting, but not surprising to us here at VigiLanz, nor to our customers.

The assessment found that most hospitals could save millions of dollars by implementing VigiLanz.

For more on how the assessment was created, check out our economic value calculator. And, to learn how much your hospital could save, use the calculator to receive an instant, customized analysis. The tool requires you to input only a few data points, such as annual inpatient admissions, number of staffed beds, and daily census.

Hundreds of hospitals across the country can attest to the margin-improving benefits of VigiLanz. For example, we help hospitals identify IV to PO conversion opportunities; enhance management of high-cost drugs; and prevent costly events such as hospital acquired infections, adverse drug events, and readmissions.

Here are a few examples of hospitals experiencing significant savings due to VigiLanz:

freeman health system logo

Freeman Health System

Freeman Health System, a 485-bed, three-hospital system in Missouri, uses VigiLanz to support and streamline its medication reconciliation efforts. Since adopting the new approach, Freeman has completed an average of 1,400 medication reconciliations monthly. This has prevented nearly 30 potential major adverse drug events and more than 11,000 potential minor adverse events over a one-year period. The health system estimates that it has realized $4.7 million in  savings from major and minor medication error prevention since July 2018. 

Houston Methodist

Pharmacists at Houston Methodist health system, which encompasses seven hospitals, eight emergency care centers, and a network of more than 7,000 physicians, are using VigiLanz to streamline workflows and communication related to antibiotic use, and to better track and monitor antimicrobial stewardship initiatives. For example, pharmacists receive real-time alerts from VigiLanz whenever rapid diagnostic test results come back positive for gram-negative bloodstream infections. This new workflow has significantly improved patient care, with benefits that include shorter lengths of stay and a 43 percent cost reduction in mean hospital costs per patient (costs fell from $45,709 to $26,162 per patient), according to a Houston Methodist study published in the Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine.

Antelope Valley Hospital

Pharmacists at the 420-bed hospital in California are using VigiLanz for several purposes, including to increase the capture of grouped antimicrobial-related interventions. As a result, the hospital’s cost savings increased from $2.8 million in 2016 to more than $3.6 million in 2017. The hospital also uses VigiLanz to progressively eliminate inappropriate antimicrobial use and reduce days of exposure. The hospital also estimated cost savings due to avoidance of adverse events at more than $576,000 in 2017. In 2016 and 2017, the emergency department alone documented more than $100,000 in savings.

Adventist Health and Rideout

Healthcare providers at the nonprofit community-based health system in California are using VigiLanz’s real-time alerts to flag issues related to antibiotic prescribingfor example, if there is a mismatch between the medication ordered and the patient’s condition. The continued focus on appropriate use of antibiotics, and on the de-escalation of antibiotic use when appropriate, has improved patient care and led to significant cost reductions. The hospital is now meeting national standards for antibiotic utilization, and annual antibiotic usage expenditures have fallen $500,000 per year.


To learn more about how VigiLanz could help enhance patient care at your hospital, contact us today. To receive your custom savings information, please check out our economic value tool .