Technology has become
an integral part of medicine today. The right technology can assist with increased
efficiency, improved quality, and reduced costs. Some of the many advantages
technology can provide include the facilitation of communication between
clinicians, improving medication safety, reducing potential medical errors, increasing
access to medical information, and encouraging patient-centered care. The
following are just a few ways technology is helping to improve patient safety:
- Facilitates Communication Between
in a patient’s medical journey, multiple healthcare professionals are involved
in their care. This can dramatically increase the potential for
miscommunication or error. Communication failures are one of the most common
factors that contribute to the occurrence of adverse events. Electronic Health
Records, are designed to help reduce those errors by compiling and maintaining
all of the patient’s health information into one easily accessible record.
- Reduces Medication Errors- Prescribing errors are another of common
medical error that can potentially lead to serious complications. Electronic
prescribing can help to reduce prescription errors by allowing clinicians to
send prescriptions electronically to the pharmacy. Medical alerts, clinical
flags and reminders are also ways that technology can help reduce medication
errors and improve patient safety.
- Provides Access to Information- Many serious medication errors are the
result of clinicians not having sufficient information about the patient or
drug. Information technology has drastically improved the access to reference
information. A large range of drug-reference information is now available for
hand-held devices and clinicians are able to quickly access textbooks,
databases, and other medical references online.
- Increases Patient-Centered Care- Encouraging patients to be more involved
in their care is important for many reasons including increased compliance and
patient satisfaction. Technology helps
contribute to patient-centered care by fostering communication between
providers and patients via online portals, text messaging, and email. It also increases
access to information such as online medical records which can improve
self-monitoring and patient convenience.
technology can have a substantial impact on patient safety. As with most technology,
there may be benefits and potential concerns. With any implementation or use of
healthcare technology, it is critical that patient safety and quality always
remain the primary focus.