News Corner: IT Attention Needed to Address Top Patient Safety Concerns

While technology in the hospital is largely invisible from the patient perspective, if implemented correctly, it can make a big difference in the quality of care patients receive. To view a tangible example of the importance of this technology in patient care, one needs to look no further than a recent ECRI Institute report regarding top patient safety concerns for 2016. Topping the list was the disconnect between health IT configurations and organizational workflow, reported FierceHealthIT.

Hospitals are increasingly implementing new technologies to streamline workflows for providers, and enhance the potential for excellent and efficient care delivery. However, too often organizations treat these solutions like “plug-and-go” installations, when in reality the technologies need to be tailored to match provider workflows, and vice-versa. When the time isn’t spent to ensure comprehensive implementation, the result is a clash with workflows, leading to poor communication and patient care.

This is further evidenced by a recent study from the Leapfrog Group showcasing the number of medication errors missed when using a computerized physician order entry (CPOE) program that isn’t fully implemented. Diligence by health IT departments is necessary to ensure full and proper implementation to catch these errors. More information about this study can be found on our blog.

Other items on this year’s list of concerns which could benefit from stronger IT involvement include patient identification errors and inadequate monitoring of patients on opioids. The full list can be found here.

Organizations that fail to follow up purchases of new technologies with testing to ensure proper implementation are not maximizing the benefits of their purchases.  This is already a top area of concern for patients, and hospitals may want to implement it as a required next step for any new technology purchase.

Related Articles:

New York Times

Health IT Analytics

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