Impact of Advancing Technology on Patient Safety?

Awareness about the influence of technology in Healthcare, as well as general opinions about the effectiveness of data sharing in improving patient care delivery are being gauged by the researchers. In one of the surveys conducted on hospitals, it was observed that mostly, the use of EHR had a positive impact on patient safety while in many cases, use of advanced technology either made patients feel less safe or made no impact at all.

While a few hospitals use advanced and comprehensive EHR technology that includes decision support elements and MACRA compliant features, most of them still use the basic EHRs that barely meet hospitals’ technological requirements.

Impact of Advancing Technology on Patient Safety

There are mixed reviews regarding the impact of EHR on the quality of care and patient safety and it could vary based on many factors. For example, improper training of staff members on how to use the technology in an effective way could lead to some hazardous consequences. On the other hand, if such attributes which can have a negative impact is taken care of, use of technology can prove to be a boon for both, patients and the hospital. For example, there is strong evidence that highlights the potential of computerized provider order entry (CPOE), a component of a basic EHR that has helped to reduce the incidence of medication errors. In this manner, the hospitals contributed to significantly better performance on a few, if not all, Medicare and Medicaid services. A systematic impact on the EHR systems is generally positive. Overall, proper implementation and utilization of EHR technology have brought many positive consequences. Below are a few examples:

  • Reductions in medication administration errors
  • Reduced time spent on documentation
  • Improved quality of documentation
  • Improved communication and workflow
  • Improved integration of technology systems into workflow processes (patient discharges and transfers)

The electronic features that were implemented in all patient care units included clinical documentation of the demographic characteristics of patients, laboratory reports, radiologic reports, problem lists, medication lists, and discharge summaries. The staff became more used to these features and started utilizing them on daily basis.

The EHR has rapidly become part of daily practice. It has created the seamless transition for patients throughout the care continuum to ensure appropriate user buy-in. It has proven in bringing about improved and more efficient nursing care, better care coordination and safety for the patients.

EHR has evolved from transition systems to focusing on patient-centered care, and the needs of patients and healthcare teams. Newly evolved technologies like Telemedicine and Health information exchanges have huge potentials to greatly and positively impact patient care coordination. The usability of EHR may be critical to the continued diffusion of the technology. Altogether, these factors suggest a need for renewed attention and focus on improving the usability of health IT to enhance patient safety and the quality of care.

Posted in EHR, mHealth, Patient Centered Medical Home, Patient Engagement Tagged with: , , ,

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