Culture counts--sustainable inpatient computerized surveillance across Duke University Health System.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


The authors report on the managerial and logistical details of deploying a computerized adverse drug event surveillance system that was at first a grant-funded research project and ultimately was changed to a sustained safety-monitoring application serving 3 different hospitals.


Surveillance was deployed in 3 phases to 2 community-based hospitals and an academic medical center. A logic-based rules engine surveyed electronic records for laboratory, medication, and demographic information indicative of safety concerns. Potential adverse events triggered manual chart review by pharmacists to verify patient harm.


During Phase 1, the research team created trigger rules for each hospital. In Phase 2, the trigger review was transitioned to hospital personnel and rule sets were reshaped for specific hospital needs. In Phase 3, surveillance was integrated into daily work flows and organizational balanced scorecards where it was accepted as a quantitative measure of medication safety performance.

Discussion and conclusion

Computerized surveillance helps detect potentially harmful events regardless of hospital size. Active leadership, change-tolerant culture, and hospital pharmacy practice models significantly impact successful adoption. Entrenched cultural issues impeded sustainability at the academic center but not at the 2 community hospitals. Tailoring surveillance to the needs of different inpatient settings is crucial to developing a sustainable model.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cozart, H; Horvath, MM; Long, A; Whitehurst, J; Eckstrand, J; Ferranti, J

Published Date

  • October 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 19 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 282 - 291

PubMed ID

  • 20924248

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1550-5154

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1063-8628

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/qmh.0b013e3181fa0680


  • eng