The healthcare system is a critical area where everything must run smoothly. However, accidents happen due to human error, negligence, inconsistency, and other issues. Even with the best safety protocol, things can still go wrong.
Can technology reshape the safety of healthcare workers, patients, and families? The answer is yes!
Technology can help improve communication, increase transparency and collaboration among workers, and promote real-time responses to critical situations.
This article elaborates on the fundamental ways technology is improving safety in healthcare. You will learn to employ digital health tools to protect your patients, staff, and visitors.
1. Quick Service Delivery
Patient safety begins with the first point of contact, usually making an appointment. In the past, patients had to rely on phone calls or walk-ins to book. Patients can now book appointments online or through a mobile app. This convenience saves time and reduces the chances of human error in bookings.
Also, hospitals require a deposit when they make an appointment. This deposit guarantees that the patient will show up. The development of travel and hospitality industry has enabled healthcare centers to adopt new market models like value-based payments while adhering to compliance requirements, allowing them to improve efficiency and cut costs. Automating service delivery diminishes the possibility of human error and makes it easier for patients to get the care they need.
Additionally, technology has improved how hospitals and clinics manage their inventory. With a computerized system, it is easier to track what drugs and medical supplies are available. This information is readily available to everyone who needs it, so there is no need to keep patients waiting for their medication. Finally, technology has helped to improve the quality of care by reducing the time it takes to get test results back. Old school labs would take days or weeks to get the test results back. Now, with technology, some test results are available in minutes. This step is critical in the fight against many diseases.
1. Reduced Medical Errors
Keeping patient medical records is critical to providing quality care and preventing errors. In the past, doctors kept patient medical records on paper, which made them susceptible to human error. With the advent of electronic health records (EHRs), patient medical information now resides in digital equipment.
EHRs reduce medical errors by allowing doctors and other healthcare providers to access a patient’s medical history faster. They also promote tracking laboratory test results, medications, and allergies.
Additionally, EHRs can help reduce the risk of medication errors. For instance, if a patient is allergic to a specific medication, the EHR will alert the doctor or nurse before administering the drug. You can also use EHRs to double-check a patient’s medications and dosage before giving them the drugs.
2. Enhanced Communication
Communication is key to providing quality patient care and preventing errors. Technology can help improve communication among healthcare providers, patients, and their families. For instance, many hospitals use secure text messaging platforms to communicate with their staff. This ensures they only send sensitive patient information securely.
Video conferencing in hospitals and other care centers is also becoming more common. It allows doctors to consult with other specialists without requiring face-to-face meetings. Such meetings save time, money, and resources. Also, for safety concerns, many consultations can now take place virtually.
Improved communication can also help reduce the risk of patient falls. For instance, if a patient needs help getting out of bed, the nurse can send a text message to another staff member for assistance. Instead of waiting for the nurse to come to the patient’s room, the patient can get help faster.
Additionally, many hospitals use patient portals to improve communication between patients and their care providers. Patient portals give patients 24/7 access to their medical information. They can also use the portal to message their doctor, schedule appointments, and refill prescriptions. All these improve the patient experience, making it efficient to receive the care they need.
Lastly, technology can help improve communication between families and patients in the hospital. Loved ones do not need to travel to the hospital to check on their relatives. They can use video conferencing platforms, such as Skype, to virtually visit the patient in their room. As such, you reduce hospital room congestion and the risk of infections.
3. Eliminates Diagnostic Errors
Diagnostic errors are among the leading causes of patient harm in the healthcare industry. You cannot administer medication or perform surgery on a patient until you have an accurate diagnosis. That is why technology that can help improve the accuracy of diagnoses is so central in every healthcare setup.
An example of such technology is the electronic health record. As mentioned earlier, EHRs store medical information in one place. That information can help doctors and other healthcare providers diagnose accurately.
Another technology that can help improve diagnostic accuracy is point-of-care testing (POCT). POCT refers to tests performed at the patient’s bedside. The results of such tests are available immediately, reducing the chances of mixing up with other patients due to name resemblance or other factors.
Patient safety is a top priority in the healthcare industry. Technology can help improve safety in various ways, such as reducing medication errors, enhancing communication, and eliminating diagnostic errors. Implementing such technology can help save lives and improve the quality of patient care.