MedStar Health Awarded an R01 from AHRQ to Apply Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to Improve Patient Safety Event Reporting and Analysis | MedStar Health

MedStar Health Awarded an R01 From AHRQ to Apply Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to Improve Patient Safety Event Reporting and Analysis

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Hyattsville, MD — MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare will be developing computational algorithms and software tools to make the reporting and analysis of patient safety event reports easier in order to improve patient safety. This work is funded through an R01 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The four-year, $1.5 million award is led by principal investigator Raj Ratwani, PhD, Vice President of Scientific Affairs, MedStar Health Research Institute and Director, MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare.

The research will focus on developing artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to classify medication related safety event reports into actionable medication error categories and creating prototype software that will help safety analysts more easily identify meaningful safety patterns. The team will pilot test the software with safety analysts from hospitals and patient safety organizations.

“Our goal is to apply powerful computational approaches and intuitively designed software tools to tens of thousands of patients safety event reports to make healthcare safer for all patients,” said Dr. Ratwani. “Through this grant we will have the opportunity to make it easier to report on safety hazards and easier to analyze those reports so patterns can be identified and effective interventions can be developed to reduce risks to patients.”

The multi-disciplinary research team has experience in computer science, safety science, user-centered design, and human factors. As part of the academic healthcare system approach at MedStar Health, the team will be collaborating with the computer science department at Georgetown University. In addition, two patient safety organizations are part of the team to support data analysis and software tool development and testing.

This work builds on previous efforts of Dr. Ratwani and the Center, including a past AHRQ R03, and an R01 from the National Institutes of Health in collaboration with Virginia Tech. Awarded in 2019, the R01 work is focused on developing novel statistical methods to analyze unstructured text in patient safety event reports and to identify temporal trends and patterns in the data. Additionally, this work builds on the Center’s contract with the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority to conduct clinical analysis of safety reports.

R01 awards from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are among the most prestigious grant mechanisms. The Center has been awarded 6 multi-year R01 awards, which are all focused on improving patient safety.


About MedStar Human Factors
The MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare occupies a unique position in the United States as the largest human factors program embedded within a healthcare system. It brings together human factors scientists, systems safety engineers, health services researchers, clinicians, and other experts to create a safer and more efficient healthcare environment through four core services in research, usability, safety advisement, and education. The Center is part of the MedStar Health Research Institute and is also affiliated with the MedStar Institute for Innovation and MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety. MedStar Health, the parent organization, is the largest not-for-profit healthcare provider in the Maryland and Washington, D.C., region, with 10 hospitals and an extensive ambulatory services network, and is the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University.

About MedStar Health Research Institute
MedStar Health Research Institute is the research arm of MedStar Health, the largest healthcare provider in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region. MHRI provides scientific, administrative and regulatory support for research programs throughout the MedStar Health system. MHRI’s expertise includes translational research into disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment. These programs complement the key clinical services and teaching programs in the 10 MedStar hospitals and other MedStar entities. For more information, visit

About MedStar Health
At MedStar Health, we use the best of our minds and the best of our hearts to serve our patients, those who care for them, and our communities. Our 30,000 associates and 4,700 affiliated physicians are committed to living this promise through our core SPIRIT values—Service, Patient first, Integrity, Respect, Innovation, and Teamwork—across our more than 300 locations including 10 hospitals, ambulatory, and urgent care centers. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar Health is training future physician leaders to care for the whole person and is advancing care through the MedStar Health Research Institute. From our telemedicine and urgent care services to the region’s largest home health agency, we’re committed to providing high-quality health care that’s also easy and convenient for our patients. At MedStar Health—It’s how we treat people. Learn more at

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Communications & Planning Manager, MHRI

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