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Tracking Cognitive Bias in the ED: How Dr. Brian Wagers Works to Improve Patient Safety at Riley Hospital for Children

Brian Wagers

We’d like to congratulate Brian Wagers, MD, on his project, “Tracking Cognitive Bias to Improve Patient Safety” being named one of the “Top 5 Safety Interventions of 2019” by the Children’s Hospital Association. This project focused on identifying cognitive bias in emergency departments and improving these situations with increased awareness and education. Continue reading below to learn more about the project and how Brian and his team hope to adapt their findings for future training.

“The project dealt with evaluating Riley Hospital’s safety events over the previous 3 years to see what trends could be identified. We identified cognitive bias as a significant contributor to adverse events and thought we might be able to help with this. The project deals with looking at each safety event that comes through our incident reporting system and is reviewed at our Safety Event Classification Meeting for the presence of cognitive bias. If cognitive bias is found, the types of bias(es) are recorded and the contribution of the bias to the event is also delineated. Often, this component comes from the healthcare personnel involved in the event. They actually come to the event to present and call out bias they may have suffered from.

We use this information to teach on debiasing strategies in the hospital and incorporated bias mitigation strategies into our leader training here at Riley. Our first cohort in the training was in March and we are about to have our next cohort go through the training in the next month. The cohort was the group of people who classify events at our safety event classification meeting each week and the executives of our hospital. The next group will be all nursing directors and medical directors at Riley. We used the information gleaned from the first cohort to adapt slightly the training methods and incorporated the debiasing strategies as well. We hope to have the entire leadership at Riley (clinical and nonclinical) from manager upward experience the training as we move forward.”

Quoted from: Dr. Brian Wagers, Physician Director of Pediatric and Maternal Quality and Safety, Riley Hospital for Children, Assistant Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics

Click here to read more about Brian’s project on Children’s Hospitals Today.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Emmy Schram

Emmy Schram is the Communications Coordinator for the Department of Emergency Medicine. She earned her MA in English from Ball State where she taught English Composition while working as a freelance graphic/web designer. She brings with her varied professional experiences which she uses to support departmental communications efforts while finding new ways to combine her passions for marketing and education.