Purpose of review
Recent advancements in big data analytical tools and large patient databases have expanded tremendously the opportunities to track patient and safety outcomes.
We discuss the strengths and limitations of large databases and implementation in practice with a focus on the current opportunities to use technological advancements to improve patient safety.
The most used sources of data for large patient safety observational studies are administrative databases, clinical registries, and electronic health records. These data sources have enabled research on patient safety topics ranging from rare adverse outcomes to large cohort studies of the modalities for pain control and safety of medications. Implementing the insights from big perioperative data research is augmented by automating data collection and tracking the safety outcomes on a provider, institutional, national, and global level. In the near future, big data from wearable devices, physiological waveforms, and genomics may lead to the development of personalized outcome measures.
Patient safety research using large databases can provide actionable insights to improve outcomes in the perioperative setting. As datasets and methods to gain insights from those continue to grow, adopting novel technologies to implement personalized quality assurance initiatives can significantly improve patient care.