Heart Smart Team Improves Patient Safety With Clinical Decision Support Tool

In 2015, the “heart smart” team from Boston Medical Center (BMC) received a funding boost for the development of a clinical decision support tool to improve operating room efficiency and patient safety by preventing common bottlenecks and interferences that occur when patients with pacemakers have surgery. As the winner of the 2015 Innovation Grant, the team walked away from last year’s HTU Conference with $25,000 in cash along with $25,000 worth of consultation and support from HealthTrust.

Team member Robert H. Helm, M.D., FHRS, director of the BMC Cardiac Device Clinic, returned to the HTU Conference in August to lead a presentation on implementing best practices for cardiac implantable electronic device (CIED) management in the OR, as well as to update HealthTrust members on the development of the web-based Perioperative CIED Management Decision Support Tool.

The tool, by association with an electronic medical record, will be able to identify the exact device that the patient has implanted. With that information available, a doctor or nurse would only need to answer a few questions or plug in a few variables to find out how to manage the device during the procedure.

While still months away from a full clinical implementation at BMC, much progress has been made since winning the grant. The algorithm has been developed, and the tool—a desktop app—is now in the design phase. A three-month clinical trial is next.

When fully implemented, Helm said the tool will help BMC increase operational efficiencies, reduce errors, improve outcomes, cut costs and promote an aligned services model.

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