Patient safety always comes first for healthcare providers. However, while providers take an oath to protect their patients, in reality, it’s difficult to keep all patients safe. In fact, medical error is the third-leading cause of death in the United States, leading to over 250,000 deaths each year. We believe that sentinel events associated with medical errors are preventable. So, how can healthcare providers reverse this disturbing patient safety trend?
The challenge isn’t in creating best practices for patient safety, but, rather, in implementing them with consistency. Training and manual processes have some positive effects on improving patient care, but health information technology has emerged as one of the most efficient, cost-effective, and safe alternatives to traditional methods in improving patient safety and quality care.
Enhancing Patient Care Through Technology
Although technology comes with its deficiencies and limitations, tech-enabled innovations often prove to be exceptionally more accurate and measurable than what even the best behavioral health administrators and staff can provide in terms of improving patient safety outcomes. Tech consistently certifies a reduction in errors, a decrease in miscommunications, and an assurance in provider compliance. Despite some growing pains during acquisition and onboarding, providers are using emerging patient care technology to improve patient outcomes that also serve staff in making their jobs easier.
Read on to learn more about how providers are using technology to improve patient care and maximize safety standards.
1. Improving Provider Communication
Mental health patients and those in other behavioral health settings see a handful of doctors, nurses, specialists, and other medical staff during their stay. With so many health professionals working with one patient, miscommunications are bound to happen. That’s when patients may get injured or engage in behaviors that lead to other sentinel events.
Medical staff needs access to accurate patient records that are updated in real-time. With cloud-based patient profiles, this access and transparency is possible. This gives providers an instant snapshot of the patient’s experience and cuts down on the miscommunications that often lead to patient harm. As evidenced by ObservSmart, our proximity-based rounding tool, utilizing technology to improve staff communication while ensuring patient safety checks is one of the simplest, yet effective, solutions for improving patient safety in a hospital setting.
2. Enhancing Drug Safety
Providers need to make sure that patients take the right medication, at the correct dose, at the right time, and in a way that won’t interfere with other drugs. But prescribing errors are common, leading to adverse events that can severely injure or lead to the death of vulnerable patients. Patient care technology like electronic prescribing practices minimizes miscommunications between the doctor, pharmacy, and patient.
This technology can also flag a patient’s medical records if they have a drug allergy. Other solutions for patient safety and medication are also on the horizon. Healthcare tech brands are creating highly-connected devices to ensure patient medication compliance, which is critical for at-risk populations like the elderly and those in psychiatric facilities.
3. Boosting Diagnostic Accuracy
It’s not unheard-of for errors to occur with diagnostic testing, such as lab work or imaging. With manual processes, it’s easy to mislabel an X-ray, for example. Medical professionals rely on a patient’s diagnosis to recommend swift, effective treatment. But if there’s a problem with the diagnosis, the patient is at risk of unnecessary treatments or even death from untreated issues.
Digitized diagnostic tools and communication systems are some of the many technologies that improve patient care. These assessments work to ensure that the right patient is matched to the correct diagnostic tests and that their providers have instant access to those test results. Automation also speeds up communication between the patient, doctor, and imaging facility to start the right treatment without delays, thus endorsing the value in leveraging technology to streamline complex medical processes.
Patient Care Technologies
Patients — and the friends and family who care about them — deserve to know that they can trust their healthcare providers. From improving provider communication to enhancing drug safety and boosting diagnostic accuracy, these three examples of patient care technologies demonstrate how providers can improve patient safety and quality care.
Contact us today to learn more about how we are developing technology that is revolutionizing how patient safety checks are being done in a variety of medical settings.