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Palooza Day Two: Connect to Innovate

On Day Two of Palooza 2024 | Connected Healthcare, attendees connected to innovate and explored the promise of emerging technology and new approaches to deliver safer, more empathic care.

Chief Product Officer Barbara Staruk led the keynote address, providing a wrap-up of RLDatix’s progress over the past year and the company’s vision for the future.

To highlight the opportunities made possible by connected healthcare operations, Staruk invited Janell Forget, AVP of Risk Management at UMass Memorial Health Care, to the stage.

Forget, who has served as both a clinician and a lawyer, detailed the rapid expansion of her organization and shared they have leveraged standardized taxonomies within their RLDatix software to bring people together into one system. “We saw benefits immediately — first locally, then system-wide across facilities,” Forget said.

In addition to advances in RLDatix’s Risk & Safety solutions and cloud offerings, Staruk showcased the potential of generative AI and large language models in healthcare and the possibilities for implementing these tools to automate incident reporting — providing healthcare teams with more time and energy to learn from patient safety data.

Staruk highlighted the necessity of connecting the head and the heart to deliver meaningful innovation, ensuring processes enable advanced processing while addressing the real needs healthcare professionals face every day.

“This technology doesn’t mean we lose the need for our people,” Staruk said. “In fact, our goal is to leverage AI to enhance the human experience and increase efficiencies so they can focus efforts on improved care delivery and greater learning.”

Aligned to Patient Safety Awareness Week, Dr. Tim McDonald, Chief Patient Safety & Risk Officer, moderated a patient safety panel that included experts and advocates who shared their experiences navigating harm after healthcare personally and professionally. Participants included documentarian Steve Burrows, Colonel Steven Coffee, educator and advocate Carole Hemmelgarn, healthcare risk executive, and lawyer Rebecca Cady.

During the panel, Burrows addressed the response from the medical community surrounding his documentary “Bleed Out,” which featured his struggle with the proverbial “wall of silence” following harm inflicted on his mother during a routine hip replacement. Burrow’s film has garnered a significant response from the medical community, including incorporation into training and education.

Cady underscored the crucial role of leadership in creating transparency. “It’s hard to admit when you’ve made a mistake. As healthcare leaders, our job is to support front-line staff and be clear about our expectations in terms of communication,” she said.

Other panelists also echoed the importance of connecting process and cultural improvements, with Coffee drawing from his military experience, “We can’t figure out every single scenario, but we can figure out how to react in those scenarios,” he said. “We can always improve the process.”

Col. Coffee also talked about how representation matters and why it’s crucial to identify blind spots in healthcare. In his closing remarks, Coffee had some encouraging words for the attendees and encouraged everyone to “Get one percent better every day.”

Hemmelgarn shared this perspective, referring to her own experiences with medical harm following the loss of her daughter: “You will never get an accurate event review if you’re not talking to the people at the center of it.”

Audience members also had the chance to share their experiences and work with panelists to brainstorm strategies to advance patient safety at their organizations.

One participant reiterated Hemmelgarn’s message and shared that his team starts with the patient’s name and photo when evaluating safety events. “We’re not looking at patient X,” he said, “It’s essential for healthcare professionals to bring the humanity piece into it.”

Throughout main stage sessions, attendees saw firsthand that true innovation isn’t simply technical, it requires connected and collaborative effort to transform systems, processes and culture.