Is an IT Department Overhauling the Answer to Patient Safety?
When patients are admitted to hospitals to have treatments performed, they expect to receive the right diagnoses, medication and treatment at all times. However, there are still too many cases coming to light where patient safety is being compromised. It has been suggested that overhauling IT departments in hospitals and other healthcare facilities could go a long way in helping to ensure that patients are well taken care of at all times.
Implementing Electronic Health Records (EHRs)
Doctors and nurses who have access to patient information that is accurate and complete will be able to provide the best possible medical care. EHRs not only make it more convenient for this information to be accessed; in many cases, they can reduce or even eliminate medical errors, while also improving the ability to diagnose a range of health conditions. According to survey results published by healthit.gov, more than 90% of healthcare providers noted that EHRs ensure that records are available at the point of care. A further 75% of doctors and nurses have stated that the implementation of EHRs has enabled them to deliver better levels of patient care than ever before.
Improve Risk Management
Once hospital IT departments assist with the implementation and usage of EHRs, doctors and nurses have noted that they can be used to gather all of a patient’s information in one place, which can go a long way in helping to prevent the occurrence of adverse events. EHRs can be set up in such a way that they provide healthcare employees with reminders and alerts, which is especially crucial for patients who may suffer from pre-existing medical conditions. This makes it a lot easier to consider all aspects of patients’ conditions, which enables healthcare professionals to make more informed choices when it comes to the drawing up of long term treatment plans for them.
Support Better Patient Outcomes
EHRs not only store patients’ basic information; they have the ability to record allergies, existing health conditions and any prescriptions that have previously been used or that are currently being used. Entering a new prescription into the system would result in mediate alerts being received if there are going to be conflicts with any existing medications or allergies. This means that any form of treatment can be administered – even if the patient in question is unconscious or unable to communicate for any reason. It has been proven in many hospitals and other healthcare facilities that the use of EHRs can also help correct a range of operational issues as well.
Hospitals that implemented the use of EHRs noted that they experienced a more than 60% decrease in medication-related adverse events and a 20% increase in the completion of other assessment reports, which helped reduce the possibility of prolonged stays in hospitals for patients. All of the above evidence and findings point towards the fact that overhauling a hospital’s IT department could very well play a tremendous role the promoting of patient safety.