A Framework for Assurance of Medication Safety using Machine Learning

by   Yan Jia, et al.

Medication errors continue to be the leading cause of avoidable patient harm in hospitals. This paper sets out a framework to assure medication safety that combines machine learning and safety engineering methods. It uses safety analysis to proactively identify potential causes of medication error, based on expert opinion. As healthcare is now data rich, it is possible to augment safety analysis with machine learning to discover actual causes of medication error from the data, and to identify where they deviate from what was predicted in the safety analysis. Combining these two views has the potential to enable the risk of medication errors to be managed proactively and dynamically. We apply the framework to a case study involving thoracic surgery, e.g. oesophagectomy, where errors in giving beta-blockers can be critical to control atrial fibrillation. This case study combines a HAZOP-based safety analysis method known as SHARD with Bayesian network structure learning and process mining to produce the analysis results, showing the potential of the framework for ensuring patient safety, and for transforming the way that safety is managed in complex healthcare environments.


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