In this day and age of modernization and innovation, technology has taken a new turn when it comes to the health industry.
Increased efficiency and reduction of costs are the first two things that come to your mind when you think of technology.
What institutions such as hospitals do not understand is that the right technology holds the promise of improving patient’s safety, especially in cases where different medical professionals are involved.
Since 2000, various campaigns such as ‘An organization with memory’ and ‘sign up to safety campaign’ have been launched towards making NHS (National Health Service) a high-reliability organization.
Jeremy Hunt has stated that he aims to reduce avoidable deaths by 6,000 over three years.
One of the ways to achieve those aims would be through technology. Mentioned below are some methods by which technology can help improve patient’s safety.
1. EHR (Electronic Health Records)
In emergency situations or when there are a number of clinicians working on a patient, the chances of making a mistake can be very high.
The EHR is designed to combat those errors by recording every piece of information about the patient in an easily accessible and convenient record.
This prevents diagnosis and medication errors – a common mistake at hospitals that can be very dangerous to the health of the patient.
Moreover, electronic prescriptions have been proved to make 50% fewer errors compared to handwritten ones.
2. Computerized Physician Entry (Cpoe)
This system involves medical professionals entering medication information, orders from or to other physicians electronically rather than carrying out those tasks manually.
This omits the errors related to poor handwriting or transcription of medication orders. Cpoe can be applicable in group investigations and treatments. The system can also help when it comes to standardizing the level of care and providing service of value.
Hospitals in the U.S are increasingly adopting computerized physician entry systems.
Fierce healthcare reports that in 2003, 1,437 hospitals were queried on several key areas on hospital quality, safety and the use of Cpoe. According to their standard, at least 75% of inpatient medication orders must be placed using a Cpoe system.
3. Cloud Computing
The word ‘cloud’ is used as a metaphor for the internet, hence, cloud computing mainly refers to computer-based computing.
It mainly relies on sharing computer resources instead of personal devices or local servers to handle applications.
As an individual, you may not have any idea about the kind of data processing that is happening on the other end, but as a big business, it is advisable for you to have in-depth knowledge about the technical aspect of cloud as it keeps patients safer by decreasing response and treatment time.
Cloud-based data storage allows doctors and other medical staff to streamline processes thereby taking care of patients as fast possible, since every second counts in medical emergencies.
4. ERP (Electronic Resource Planning)
This can be an excellent way to optimize patient’s safety, quality of care and operational efficiency of the physicians while keeping costs down and optimizing back end operations.
Often certain resources are needed immediately, especially in cases of emergency.
In such situations, ERP can be the best solution for health institutions, as the time consumed for communication can hold up a lot of processes at health institutions which run the risk of compromising the wellbeing of patients.
Moreover, different processes could also be monitored by the ERP, regulating who enters and exits the hospital premises can also instill a sense of safety among the patients.
With the right technology, hospitals or other health institutions can improve patient’s safety, reduce the risk of medical error, and even increase revenues. Although technology may behave consistently at all times, if the rest of the team does not behave appropriately, then the institutions biggest strength could also turn out to be its weakness.
Hence, training of the staff is a crucial element for health institutions.
Just as technology is advancing many fields, it is also revolutionizing the healthcare industry by creating opportunities for seamless processes that are devoid of human errors.
Above mentioned technologies, and a number of others, are helping save lives, improving the quality of healthcare provided and instilling a sense of security within the patients.