The advantages of technology in healthcare are undeniable. In fact, most of the recent advancement in medicine is directly attributable to technical innovation. But what impact is the technological revolution having on our lives, and is it for the better? Also, what is the role of technology in improving patient safety?
The three primary effects of technology in improving patient safety in healthcare are as follows:
- The standard of living
- Employment in the healthcare industry
- The global economy
We can be sure that interest in medical innovation is not waning as long as new investments keep the private sector humming. We may add the drop in occurrences of unnecessary deaths and an overall improvement in patient wellbeing to the list of benefits of technology in healthcare. The length of treatment and recovery has greatly decreased. Not to mention the expansion of new job opportunities and career options for medical professionals.
Here we discuss the role of technology in improving patient safety;
1. Reduces Medication Error
Another typical medical mistake that has the potential to cause major problems is incorrect prescribing. By enabling clinicians to electronically communicate prescriptions to the pharmacy, electronic prescribing can help lower prescription error rates.
Technology can also aid in lowering prescription errors and the role of technology in improving patient safety through the use of medical alerts, clinical flags, and reminders.
2. Increases Patient-Centered Care
Increased compliance and patient satisfaction are only two benefits of encouraging patients to participate more in their care. By facilitating contact between healthcare professionals and patients via online portals, text messaging, and email, technology aids in the development of patient-centered care.
Additionally, technology makes information like online medical records more accessible, which can enhance patient convenience and self-monitoring. The role of technology in improving patient safety can be significantly impacted by information technology. Like with other technology, there could be advantages as well as potential drawbacks. Patient safety and quality must always come first in the deployment and usage of any healthcare technology.
3. Improved Care Coordination
The National Patient Safety Goals program of The Joint Commission and meaningful use attestation both have as their core components improving coordination, which has been a priority of healthcare for some time. Despite garnering more attention, organizations still struggle with care coordination, especially during transitions of care, which results in subpar care quality and safety.
Poorly coordinated care transitions from hospitals to other care settings have been linked to poor health outcomes, including harm from medication errors, procedure complications, infections, and falls, according to a report from the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation. These transitions cost between $12 billion and $44 billion. Fortunately, technological developments have the potential to enhance provider communication and lower errors during care transitions.
In response to the rising demand for help with care transitions, creative IT companies have introduced a range of solutions. While some of these technologies are coupled with additional services to help with broader difficulties, such as communication, education, and medication adherence, others are standalone systems and apps created expressly to aid with the transition of care.
4. Accessibility of Health Records
Now that almost all medical records are electronically accessible in the cloud, on a secure shared network, and via a variety of digital devices, there is no need to “check out” the chart from the chart room. We are now better able to respond to crucial patient data than ever before thanks to the complete, real-time data found in EHRs and other platforms, as well as communication features, safety alerts, reporting capabilities, and accessibility from remote places.
5. Higher-Quality Communication And Connectivity
The ability to contact patients between medical appointments and after hospital release has also been made possible by technology. For instance, some applications send automatic reminders to patients asking them to complete surveys following surgery or while they are recovering, while algorithm-driven warnings pinpoint those at risk for infection or readmission to the hospital.
Patient portals offer features including registration, online scheduling, and bill payment, as well as giving patients internet access to their medical records and histories of prescribed medications. Additionally, the role of telehealth technology in improving patient safety enables clinicians to follow up with patients after hospital discharge, conduct post-operative visits, or talk about medication adherence issues without the need for the patient to physically visit the clinic. This is especially advantageous for patients with mobility or cognitive problems or those who live in rural areas.
6. Better Medication Reconciliation
One of the first automatic, electronic reconciliation tools was provided by the electronic health record; it allowed for the easy creation and upkeep of an accurate medication list that could be quickly “checked” and reconciled at each stage of the patient’s trip. These initial platforms were a good first step, but their accuracy is largely dependent on patient recollection or the patient bringing in a bag of pills, and they don’t contain medications from outside the system or network. It might be difficult to determine a complete and accurate list of the medications a patient takes during visits to the emergency room.
The role of modern technology in improving patient safety tools like Cureatr’s Meds360 is more thorough and precise. Data on dosage changes and pharmacy pick-ups is compiled by Meds360 from real-time data streams and presented visually. The platform is independent of patient memory, EHR data, and prescriber network connectivity. Actual pickup dates, missed refill opportunities, and dosage adjustments are among the data pulled from pharmacy fulfillment streams. Adverse drug events reduce and adherence can be better controlled when technology can automatically offer a transparent, accurate picture of patients’ prescription regimens.
The role of medical technology in improving patient safety has certainly advanced significantly, and overall growth is continuing to increase. We may anticipate much more invention and growth in the years to come as Millennials flood the IT and medical professions. What new breakthrough will modern medicine make? That’s up to us and the medical community’s upcoming generation.