The AAMI Foundation has named the recipients two grants worth a total of $79,950 that will go to researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio, to support projects at both that are focused on reducing pediatric medication errors.
Named in honor of AAMI’s former president and CEO, the Mary K. Logan Research Awards Program was established in 2016 with a gift from the association’s board of directors. The grants awarded through the program are intended to support research and initiatives that focus on improving patient safety and eliminating morbidity and mortality associated with the use of health technology, according to AAMI.
A Brigham and Women’s Hospital research team led by Kumiko O. Schnock,PhD, RN, will receive $39,950 to support focused on refining an existing data collection tool that has been tested with adults, to determine the frequency and type of intravenous (IV) medication administration errors that occur when using smart pumps in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). According to the AAMI Foundation, once the tool is developed, the research team will conduct a pilot study to validate it, and then will use the tool to identify issues associated with smart pump medication administration in the NICU.
“There is currently no standardized approach to measuring IV medication administration safety in NICUs,” Schnock explains. “Our observation tool is novel, in that it can detect various types of IV medication administration errors through a systemic collection of information about the IV medication administered and a comparison of that information to existing medication errors. This tool automatically identifies the ‘five rights’ of medication-use errors and helps categorize the severity of each detected error’s harm.”
Another pediatric patient safety challenge, meanwhile, is inaccurate body weight data. This issue is significant because of the frequent use of weight-based dosing of medications and errors propagated by electronic health record (EHR) systems. In response, a research team at the University of Cincinnati have developed a computerized medication safety system that can detect weight errors and stop the medication ordering process in order to prevent errors. However, the system’s positive predictive value still needs to be improved, says lead researcher Danny T.Y. Wu, PhD, assistant professor of biomedical informatics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, whose team will receive $40,000 from the AAMI Foundation.
“In a pediatric environment, where many medication doses are based on weight, a medication error is possible if a wrong weight is entered for a patient. Yet, kids with severe conditions can have unusual growth patterns, so automated identification of weight errors is difficult,” Wu says. “This grant will allow us to develop and evaluate a machine learning algorithm to more accurately detect pediatric weight entry errors, bringing our machine learning expertise to bear on this deceptively complex problem. We plan to conduct a pilot test to demonstrate the effectiveness of our algorithm. In the long term, we hope this work will help other pediatric health institutions reduce medication errors and improve patient safety.”
Applications for the AAMI Foundation’s next grant cycle are due by Dec. 31, and the awards will be announced in June 2019. For more information, visit www.aami.org/researchaward.