protecting pregnant patient safety in healthcare

5 Ways to Ensure Safety in Pregnant Patients

protecting pregnant patient safety in healthcare

What are 5 simple steps healthcare providers can take to protect the safety of pregnant patients?

The following guest post on patient safety in healthcare was submitted by Dixie Somers.

Because so many changes occur in a woman’s body when she is pregnant, doctors, nurses and other health care workers must approach this patient with caution. If you are caring for a pregnant patient, you must be aware of all of the changes going on in her body and must be aware that typically safe procedures and medications may affect her differently that they would affect non-pregnant individuals. Although most pregnant patients are seen in dedicated OB clinics or are admitted to OB hospital floors, not all are, meaning that you may take care of a pregnant individual one day even if you have not received adequate or complete training in this specialty area.

Be Careful with Medications

Many medications affect the pregnant body differently than they affect the non-pregnant body. Besides this, not many medications have been tested on pregnant women. Therefore, many hospitalists do not conclusively know whether certain medications are safe for the fetus. Before prescribing a medication, look carefully at other medications the woman may be taking for possible interactions and consult a drug reference for FDA classifications. Class A is the safest, but occasionally doctors may prescribe Class B or C drugs if they determine that the benefits are greater than the risks.

Be Careful with Radiology

While pregnant women can undergo some radiology, you should not subject them to more than is absolutely necessary for the health of the fetus. You may wish to try to delay treating certain medical issues until after pregnancy. However, when you must, pregnant women can undergo x-rays, CT scans or MRIs as well as ultrasounds. Contrast material should not be used.

Consult with the Obstetrics Physician

If you have not received adequate training in obstetrics or gynecology, you simply do not have the knowledge base the woman’s primary OB doctor has. Before prescribing drugs or treatments, consult with the attending physician. He or she may know about underlying conditions or pregnancy risks that would affect your treatment choices or the health of the mother.

Be Aware of Physiologic Changes

Many changes occur in the pregnant woman’s body that can affect her health, particularly during certain treatments. Be aware of the possibility for high blood pressure or gestational diabetes. Other changes that can affect your care of her include high incidences of asthma, increased cardiac output, decreased hematocrit and increased creatinine clearance rates.

Be Careful with Inductions

If you are the attending physician or OB nurse, you will want to be very careful with inducing a pregnant patient. Inductions can produce harder labors and deliveries and can be quite difficult for the mother and the child. Inductions before 40 weeks are rarely indicated. Instead, ensure that the fetus has plenty of time to mature by waiting until 41 or 42 weeks before inducing.

If you do not feel comfortable making a certain decision as you care for a pregnant patient, be sure to consult with the patient’s primary physician or with a nurse or other health care worker skilled in this field. You will not be looked down on for putting the patient’s needs before your own reputation. In fact, you will most likely gain a reputation among your colleagues and patients as being a careful and safe worker.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger from Phoenix, Arizona, who loves most to write for health, technology, and business niches. Dixie is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

wearable devices are a threat to patient safety

Is Your Wearable Health Device A Risk to Your Privacy?

wearable devices are a threat to patient safety

Should patients be concerned about their privacy when using connected health devices? (Photo courtesy of FreePik.com)

The following guest post on wearables and patient privacy was submitted by Joseph Mack.

It seems every time you turn around these days someone is staring at their wrist to check their vitals on their smartwatch or wearable health device. You see them at the gym, on the local hiking trails, and you see them on your coworkers at work. They’re popular items and that’s because more people are recognizing the benefits of a focus on a healthy lifestyle and these devices can help you take it to the next level. That’s not to say they don’t raise any concerns and we’re going to take a look at why you should be exercising a little caution when you wear one.

The Benefits of Wearables

Information is power so having access to real time health data can be of significant benefit to you. There’s no point in being an ostrich with your head in the sand. If you have things you need to improve in your life why not get out in front of the problem? A wearable health device can help you do this.

Wearable health devices can track your heart rate, measure your activity levels, and monitor your sleep patterns. All of these things are vital to good health and understanding patterns can help to identify problems early so that you can make adjustments in your life that can improve your health.
Before the advent of wearable health devices we tended to rely on our healthcare providers heavily to monitor our health and identify any potential concerns. The problem with this system was that we usually didn’t find out about health concerns before we were already at risk. The data our wearable devices collect can catch issues before they become a real issue and reduce our personal stress levels.

Popular Devices and their Risks

Some of the most popular wearable health devices on the market today are those produced by Fitbit. They offer various devices at different price points and they are generally benign with the information simply being shared to an app. In fact, you can share your data over a Wi-Fi connection without ever having to connect with the internet. You have a lot of control over what data you actually share and while any information stored on your smartphone is potentially at risk the risk is minimal in this case.

For devices such as the Zephyr Anywhere BioPatch things are not so black and white. This device can measure a whole host of biometric information which can be ideal for the athlete looking to improve their performance, but all of that information is shared to a remote device or app and that information is vulnerable. The determined hacker can easily access a lot of sensitive health information that could be used against you by health insurance providers and potential or existing employers.

Who Has Access to Your Data?

When you share any information to your smartphone from your wearable health device that information can potentially be accessed by the company that manufacturers your device and your phone company. This is of particular concern if you’re using various cloud services that these devices offer. Those cloud services may be convenient, but any time you use one you’re exposing yourself to a certain level of risk.

It’s a good idea to read your end user licence agreement (EULA) carefully. There may be a clause in there that allows them to share your data with third parties without your knowledge or consent. It’s always a good idea to know and understand your rights. While the clauses in your EULA may seem relatively benign you should always do your homework. If you can have a look at the EULA of a device before you buy it even better!

A report by the American University and the Center for Digital Democracy found that the fragmented healthcare sector currently fails to protect the private information collected by health wearables. Many of this information has been collected by Big Data, and has the potential to offer many benefits as more data can help optimize treatments. However there can be scary repercussions of sharing this information without proper regulations.


How Could Your Own Data Be Used Against You?

We’ve already touched upon it briefly, but it bears repeating – be very cautious when using any type of cloud service associated with a device. As surprising as it may seem, the security of information is a bit of an afterthought when it comes to wearable devices. When you use one you’re gathering a lot of information about yourself that could easily become public record. There are cases where company health insurance providers have denied coverage to employees because of data collected on their own devices. It may be best to keep the data you’re collecting to yourself.

The other thing to keep in mind is that when you share your data online it may be stored in multiple locations over time. These different layers of data can be hard to track and even when you think you’ve deleted information that you’ve shared online there’s a good chance it can still be accessed. With some devices it’s not easy to delete any data that’s been saved – if it’s possible at all. It’s always best to understand what you’re getting yourself into before you commit to anything.

Some Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself

Now that we’ve discussed some of the potential dangers of wearable health devices it’s time to take a step back and look at the positive sides. These devices can help you improve your approach to your overall health by keeping you focused and informed. They key is to understand the privacy issues associated with any device before you purchase one and try to select a device that provides you with the most control over your information.
If you have to spend a bit more for a more secure device wait until you can afford it and opt for the more secure device. If there is firmware that can be updated make sure it’s up to date as security patches can be vital to securing your information. Owning a wearable health device can be a great thing as long as you understand how to use it while protecting your information at the same time.

This is a guest post by Joseph Mack from smarthomeSAGE, a tech blog that analyzes the impact that smart home technology (such as video doorbells on home life).

patient safety in healthcare

Patient Safety Awareness Week 2017 – We Are All Patients

patient safety in healthcare

What can patients and doctors do together to ensure better patient safety in healthcare? (Photo courtesy of pixabay)

The following post on patient safety in healthcare was submitted by Emma Turner.

Everyone is a patient. Whether it’s a simple cold or a complicated surgical procedure, sooner or later, we all need a doctor – and Patient Safety Awareness Week is a time to reflect on how healthcare organizations and patients can work together to keep everybody safe, healthy and happy.

The week marks the culmination of the United in Patient Safety campaign, and this year, will take place from 12 to 18 March.

We put a lot of faith in our doctors – and in theory, medical professionals take a great deal of pride in ensuring you receive the highest quality of care. But no matter how knowledgeable or skilful your doctor may be, accidents happen.

Here’s the reality: hospitals are places of trauma, where sick and seriously injured people look for help. This means that doctors are often overrun with a variety of crises, and feel compelled to work long hours seeing many different patients, often long into the night.

These working conditions would make anyone crabby – but they can make doctors exhausted, and prone to making serious errors under pressure. And those mistakes can put your health, safety and even your life at risk.

How Many Fatal Medical Mistakes Occur Every Year?

New research shows medical errors are a major problem. A study by Johns Hopkins Medicine suggests that as many as 250,000 deaths per year in the United States alone are due to some form of medical error. The study’s authors believe that medical error should now be regarded as the third leading cause of death in the country – and that many of these fatal mishaps are preventable.

In fact, the researchers caution against blaming so-called “bad” doctors, and point instead to an array of systemic failures that could lead to mistakes being made. These oversights include poor coordination of care between doctors and facilities, fragmented insurance networks, absent safety protocols, and avoidable variations in physician practice patterns.

Good News! Our Hospitals Are Becoming Safer

Efforts to avoid these mistakes from happening are working. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently concluded that the number of illnesses or injuries that occur in hospital, or hospital-acquired conditions (HACs), has been steadily declining since 2010.

The agency estimates that between 2010 and 2014, hospitals were able to reduce HACs by 17 percent, a sure sign that local and national efforts to improve patient safety are paying off. A total of 2.1 million fewer HACs were experienced by patients in those four years, which is good news for anyone who finds that they need to be admitted to hospital, as it represents an overall increase in safety – and comes at a time when hospitals all over the country have ramped up their attempts to reduce adverse events.

Clearly, hospitals are embracing their duties of safety and care – and it’s not just your health that stands to benefit. By paying attention to the negative impact of unnecessary errors, the nation’s hospitals managed to save as much as $19.85 billion in costs between 2010 and 2014. Those savings are crucial, as they enable healthcare practitioners to offer their patients an ever-improving standard of care.

What Can Doctors Do About the Safety Standard in Hospital?

The resident experts in each hospital are responsible for improving conditions – and a new poll shows that more and more of those specialists are making progress. In the AHRQ’s Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture, 76 percent of respondents graded their work area or unit as either very good or excellent – while less than half of them reported at least one safety-related incident in their facility in the past 12 months.

While each medical error is as unique as the patient being treated, there are patterns and trends that present themselves over time. Some common causes of serious medical errors include poor planning, doctor fatigue, and failure in communication among healthcare staff, prescription of incorrect medication or dosage, and pharmacist error.

Some steps doctors and other healthcare workers can take to prevent mistakes are:

1. Plan meticulously before each and every surgical procedure or outpatient treatment;
2. Get enough rest and adhere to federal guidelines regulating doctors’ working hours;
3. Ensure open lines of communication between staff members and specialists, and from one stage of treatment to the next;
4. Look out for medication interaction issues due to previous prescriptions; and
5. Print each prescription notice neatly and clearly, and make sure the patient understands how, and how regularly, to administer their medication.

What Can You Do to Avoid Becoming the Victim of a Medical Error?

Hospitals are unique places, where traumatized patients seek help from frazzled or fatigued doctors. While strict safety standards are designed to prevent serious accidents, the combination of high stakes and human nature is bound to lead to mistakes every so often.

Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to ensure those errors don’t leave you more ill than when you walked in, or worse.

The first and most important step to take in avoiding a serious or even fatal medical mistake is to look past the white coat. Doctors are people too – they face challenging working conditions and a range of other strains and stressors, and despite their years of training and insights into mysterious illnesses, they are capable of making mistakes.

Here’s how to check in on your doctor’s diagnosis, and guarantee that you are receiving proper care:

1. Research as much as you can about your condition and the required treatment plan;
2. Study your doctor for signs of fatigue, and report them to management if you feel they are too tired or overworked to examine your case properly;
3. Make sure you know each individual in your healthcare team by name, including not just your primary care physician but nurses, surgeons and specialists, and ask questions to check that they are communicating openly with each other;
4. Be honest with your doctors about your full medical history, and tell them about any other medications you might have been prescribed by another doctor; and
5. Double-check your pharmacist’s instructions and make sure you understand how and when to take your medication.

improving patient safety in healthcare saves lives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Emma Turner is a blogger writing for http://nursingschoolsnearme.com, a website helping students and established nursing professionals in a range of topics.

 

 

healthcare tech is changing the industry

Healthcare in the Digital Age: 5 Technologies That Are Changing Healthcare

healthcare tech is changing the industry

Learn more about the top 5 technologies changing the healthcare industry. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

The following guest post on 5 technologies changing the healthcare industry was submitted by Emily Walters.

Healthcare isn’t what it used to be, and that’s a good thing! It’s no coincidence that the healthcare revolution aligns with the Digital Era, and how we approach our well-being, including physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, is getting faster, better and more accessible thanks to technology. It might seem like the healthcare industry is behind others when it comes to tasks like digitizing documents for a paperless environment, but that’s not the case. With regulations like HIPPA ensuring security compliance, it just takes healthcare a little longer to get fully on board with special technology that’s much more comprehensive and advanced than what’s readily available to other industries.

We take a lot of technology for granted, but consider these five technologies that are changing healthcare, and it’s easy to see how far we’ve come:

1. Fitness trackers. Whether you couldn’t imagine life without your Fitbit, heart rate monitor in spin class or Apple’s health app, how we track, compete, encourage ourselves and promote our fitness has shifted drastically thanks to these devices. They’re not perfect, and in some cases fitness trackers have been linked to negative practices such as orthorexia, but for most devotees they’re fun and easy ways to help move more and encourage healthy eating. When you know exactly what you’ve consumed, how long you’ve worked out and to what degree, and your tracker is telling you to get up and move because you’ve been sitting too long, it’s like having a 24/7 personal trainer at a very small fraction of the cost.

2. DietSensor. It’s another app, but one with a new approach to a healthier lifestyle. This recent development, and others like it, can scan nutritional labels to instantly gauge how an item fits into your diet (keeping in mind that a diet is something we all have, for better or worse). Learning to read nutritional labels is a skill that’s gone by the wayside. However, whether you teach yourself to be a better label checker or prefer to rely on the quick scan of technology, it’s a critical part of choosing a healthier lifestyle. Reading nutritional labels isn’t a skill that’s taught at school, and it’s rarely taught at home—often because those who should be teaching it are clueless, too. Nutritional labels have become increasingly confusing in recent years with ingredients we can’t pronounce and additions to labels to include items like “sugar alcohols.” A great app can be personalized so you’re getting the information you both need and want. For example, maybe you’re embracing a carb-cycling lifestyle and need to know net carbs instead of just a breakdown of carbohydrate types.

3. Healthcare data storage solutions. Embracing a paperless environment isn’t just kind to the environment, though you may get extra brownie points for that. It’s also a means of minimizing human error and double work. With cloud storage available, patient files (and more) can be instantly uploaded, downloaded, shared and viewed with those granted access anywhere in the world. Even with the threat of security breaches, soft copies of files are generally more secure than hard copies. Data storage designed specifically for healthcare can also help sync a patients’ many healthcare providers including GPs, mental health experts, physical therapists, nutritionists and even personal trainers.

4. New glucose monitoring systems with no prick. There are a few on the market, but a popular option in Europe and Australia is the Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System. Instead of daily finger pricks previously required of those with diabetes, it’s a sensor that you wear for 14 days that tests blood sugar levels 14 times throughout the day completely discomfort-free. Overall, technology is revolutionizing medical tests and routine precautions making approaches easier, more flexible, and more comfortable than ever. Those with diabetes aren’t the only patients who need frequent blood tests, but they make up the majority of such patients.

5. Virtual reality. VR options were big on Santa’s wish lists during the past holiday season, but they’re more than just fun and games. Virtual reality can help medical students “experience” future situations in a much more realistic fashion, and VR can also help the elderly or those with agoraphobia and PTSD slowly re-immerse themselves into a space that’s safe and accessible while mimicking the real world. There are a variety of VR offerings available, and doing your due diligence to find the right match for you is critical to having a successful experience.

Another technological breakthrough that’s been around for a while is being able to connect with healthcare professionals virtually. There’s been a boom in the number of physicians, mental health experts, and other healthcare professionals “meeting” with patients via video conferencing. It’s a faster, easier, and sometimes more affordable way for patients to get the care they need. As an added bonus, patients who are immobile, in rural areas, or for other reasons that have trouble seeing a medical professional in person suddenly has instant access to the help they need.

Technology is far from perfect, and there’s no telling what kind of medical technology breakthroughs we’ll experience in the coming years. However, with every offering there’s a chance to learn, grow and make sure the next breakthrough is even better. Technology can only improve if tested, though. For those in a position to try out new technology solutions, do so, and share your experience. It just might help drive the next generation of medical technology.

Emily Walters is a freelance content writer. She has written for a variety of industries including business, healthcare, technology, and travel. Aside from writing, Emily enjoys traveling, gardening, and paddle boarding.

Patient-Safety-Malpractice-of-Medical-Law

How Important is Patient Safety Against the Malpractice of Medical Law?

patient safety in healthcare

The fear of medical malpractice has a direct impact on patient safety in healthcare. (Photo courtesy of flickr)

The following guest post on patient safety in healthcare was submitted by Paul Trevino.

A patient that approaches a doctor is most likely in need of some sort of medical treatment. The patient trusts that the doctor has the necessary expertise and ability to improve if not relief his medical condition. Medical practitioners are responsible for the wellbeing of all their patients, and should treat everyone equally. Sadly, a lot of patients nowadays are not properly taken care of. Over the years, there have been lots of case of malpractice, and the reasons vary. Some say physicians are no compensated fairy; they work extra shifts, thus making them unable to focus and make sure patients are attended properly.

Nonetheless, that’s certainly no excuse to be negligent at work. The medical profession is a noble profession. It helps sustain life, thus making patients feel safe as they walk into a hospital. They deserve to be looked after because most of have health insurance, and the money that they pay helps the doctor have a personal life outside the hospital as well.

Patient expectations in medical facilities

Because it helps sustain life, the medical profession is a noble profession. Having a proper conduct when treating patients is a fundamental part of a doctor’s professional and ethical standards. In spite of this fact, there are physicians that don’t abide by the rules. Some practice defensive medicine; others don’t report incidents and are hesitant when doing a job they should master. The risk of undergoing malpractice litigation is a relevant factor
that plays a part in their behavior.

Defensive medicine is related to performing unnecessary tests and medical procedures, thus deviating from fundamental guideline practices and ignoring high risk patients. In terms of malpractice litigation, the risks involved often affect a physician’s behavior toward their patients. Following an incident, the patient can proceed with taking legal action against the healthcare professional in the hopes of preventing further incidents from happening again.

Why do patients feel unsafe in healthcare facilities?

Prior research has rendered pertinent information as to why some patient don’t feel safe in healthcare facilities. Certain physicians are used to practicing defensive medicine in order to preserve a doctor-patient bond. That being said, the most common incidents happen when patients don’t report them. Lack of feedback, time scarcity on formerly reported incidents, and even the level of bureaucracy present in many institutions have compelled many physicians to stop reporting accidents, regardless of their nature.

In some circumstances, doctors don’t disclose essential information to patients because of a faulty medical care culture, where employees are too afraid that they’ll get fired if they report misconduct or incidents. As for the medical legal system, there’s a lack of insight as far as understanding in what circumstances a certain incident occurred. Additional reasons that might compel physicians to practice defensive medicine might be related to financial burdens and increased costs of liability insurance.

How Important is Patient Safety Against the Malpractice of Medical Law?

(Photo courtesy of flickr)

Furthermore, litigation risks dismays physicians from sharing sensitive information regarding incidents to their patients. Healthcare workers may not be able to provide a patient with all the required details following an error due to perceived lacks of legal protections from the law. If a physician thinks that disclosure can persuade a patient not to file a complaint, they might endorse sensitive information; otherwise they prefer to keep quiet and not reveal too much.

A senior patient’s relationship with his caregiver

Unlike general physicians that work in hospitals, caregivers tend to develop different relationships with their patients. In some case, they become extremely close and the bond nearly become a friendship. But caregivers must also develop a sense of responsibility. Otherwise they are predisposed to medical malpractice, too. Many have been accused over the years that they don’t look after their patients, or that they don’t have the skills to provide enough advice to help the patient recover.

How Important is Patient Safety Against the Malpractice of Medical Law?

(Photo courtesy of flickr)

Malpractice is a very sensitive topic in the medical environment. Both caregivers and physicians should do everything they can to make sure their patients are on the right path to recovery. Whether you have a loved one currently living in care homes in Maidstone, or you’re considering hospitalization, it might be a good idea to know more about the rules and regulations of the facility. This will help you provide the best possible care for your beloved relative.

Paul Trevino is interested in writing about health and fitness related issues. He has a deep knowledge at this field. He also enjoys reading fitness magazines at his free time.

using healthcare analytics to make smarter decisions

Healthcare Analytics: Reshaping the Future of Healthcare

using healthcare analytics to make smarter decisions

The collection and interpretation of healthcare analytics is fundamentally changing modern healthcare delivery. (Photo courtesy of pixabay.com)

The following guest post on healthcare analytics was submitted by Yeshwanth HV. 

As healthcare enters the digital age, the practice of medicine will change for the better. It will move away from the clasp of largely reactive decision-making, which was inaccurate and expensive to say the least, and into the realm of evidence-based medicine; thereby becoming more proactive, connected and personalized. In simple words this means that the days of long trips to hospitals that culminated into a series of referrals followed by questions and answer sessions, and tests that were repeated over and over again will be a thing of the past. Patients will start receiving treatments and be prescribed medications that are customized as per their unique needs. With comprehensive medical information about the patient along with a repository of knowledge base that includes every aspect of treating patients with similar medical conditions, care teams will be able to devise accurate healthcare plans that can mitigate any harm to life or safety of patients.

If you think that this form of care is too “futuristic” and can only exist in animations shows such as ‘The Jetsons,’ let me get you acquainted with the reality. The truth is this form of care is already happening and will eventually be integrated into every routine healthcare protocol.

The ‘magic’ that made this possible

Yes, hospitals and other healthcare practices have scrutinized operational and financial data since ages, but the magic started happening when they started to track and analyze healthcare data. When healthcare related data is gleaned from a variety of sources – starting from EHRs and disease registries to direct patient surveys and even digital health devices used by individuals – providers can obtain a well-rounded view, which enables them to analyze every patient, understand their needs and proactively reach out to provide personalized care. When diligently used, the intelligence gained from analytics can move beyond improving healthcare outcomes and give a new lease of life to a hospital’s bottom line.

Factors driving this move towards analytics

The first reason is the cost. It is no secret that ‘reactive’ healthcare is a lot heavier on the pocket when compared to ‘proactive or preventive’ healthcare, which is essentially conceived with an objective to keep individuals out of costly healthcare settings such as emergency rooms.
The other crucial factor that is encouraging this trend is the shift from fee-for-service model to accountable, value-based care models that essentially link quality of care and reimbursement. For healthcare providers, this move means that their survival depends upon the usage of analytics to streamline financial and operational performance of the organization.

How does it work?

Not long ago, providing evidence-based treatment meant that hospitals had to follow a series of well-tested care protocols. However, with greater access to healthcare data and advancements in analytics, we have entered a new era of evidence driven care. By accumulating and analyzing data from diverse feeds over an extended period of time, care providers can understand the exact reasons for bad outcomes and therefore realign their strategies to provide most effective care to individual patients as well as to a particular section of patient populations.

Healthcare providers can also leverage analytics to recognize patterns in a population’s health and precisely estimate individual risk scores. Based on these scores, they can priorities the work of individual healthcare team, allowing them focus more time on the most vulnerable individual.
What’s more healthcare analytics, whether based on risk assessment, EMRs or claims data, can categories patients prior to service and tackle a potential concerns before they pose any real threat to the patients. It can also quantify everything – from emergency room visits, treatment outcomes and readmissions to wait times and utilization of expensive services – and offers a level of transparency that is good for both healthcare outcomes and for business. For instance it can help providers to set up internal benchmarks to gauge quality and cost performance, and provide a detailed understanding of how well they stack up against their counterparts. It also can help hospitals to swiftly make crucial decisions pertaining to reducing costs, optimizing resources, improving care quality and enhancing their competitive positions.

The benefits of healthcare analytics on the patient side are also equally compelling. By arming patients with timely and relevant information, and enabling them to have an extensive understanding, healthcare analytics has opened up a new era of customized healthcare.

Conclusion: Changes are coming; be ready to embrace it

In developed nations the usage of healthcare analytics is growing at a rapid pace. As a result of this, very soon the roles of patients, physicians, hospitals and other healthcare organizations will see some drastic changes in the coming years as mentioned below-

• Patients will become better informed and assume more responsibility for their own care

• Physicians will assume more of a consultant role than a decision maker and will advise, warn and help individual patients. They will start witnessing more success as care becomes more accurate and proactive. And they will have more time to interact with patients and build long lasting relationships

• Hospitals will start witnessing fewer unnecessary hospitalizations, resulting in revenue losses initially. However, overtime, admissions will become more meaningful, the market will adjust, and accomplishment will rise

All in all, changes are coming. Be proactive and ready to embrace the new world order that will take healthcare to the next level.

Author Bio:

Yeshwanth HV is a healthcare writer employed by MedBillingExperts, a leading provider of healthcare business process outsourcing services such as medical billing, medical coding, medical records indexing and healthcare analytics services to medical practitioners and healthcare organizations worldwide. Dedicated towards the healthcare industry, he has authored several blogs and articles that have received rave reviews in the industry. Prior to MedBillingExperts, Yeshwanth worked with CIO Review and has authored several bylined pieces for the quarterly editions of the magazine.

infection control to improve patient safety

Planning a Hospital Renovation? Tips To Monitor Infection Control

infection control to improve patient safety

Maintaining strong infection control is an important aspect of sustaining patient safety during hospital renovations. (Photo courtesy of pixabay)

The following guest post on infection control in healthcare was submitted by Ashton Blagden.

Hospital renovation or the construction process is not a small thing. You need to keep an eye on the entire process from time and again so that it completes on time without causing other issues. One of the most important thing that you need to keep in mind and look for while carrying out the hospital renovation is infection control.

Having an infection control process implemented and then forgetting about the whole thing is not done. You have to keep on monitoring the measures and make sure that everything works as per the plan.

So, here I am with a few effective tips that you can practice to control infection while carrying out the construction process in the hospital.

Get an infection control owner

It is not at all possible to control infection without having a person in charge of the things. So you need to have an infection control owner in place. But, this does not mean that the person has to make sure infection control is properly in place by completing the tasks on his own. The duty of such a person is to check out the things that need to be done and then assign the tasks to different people. After that, he needs to do a follow-up for the same from time to time. By having an infection control owner, you increase the chance of keeping the place infection-free as per the guidelines.

Invest in right resources

Having the right kind of infection control resources is very important, like for any other facility processes. The infection control should be given priority as if you follow the right procedures you will be able to save the lives of a good number of patients. So make sure you invest in the right resources along with your money and time.

Check out the negative air pressure areas

To keep the hospital premises pathogen free from the construction area, it is very important to maintain negative air pressure. But then, maintaining the negative air pressure is not easy too. So you have to keep on monitoring the area with negative air pressure and ensure that all the equipment placed there are working properly. The best two ways to check the negative air pressure is by going for a visual test using a flutter strip or smoke and by going for the manometer.

If the negative air pressure is not working then you can go for the option of HEPA filters. You need to keep on changing the filters regularly to monitor the area.

Keep learning

You need to be alert to make sure that all the infection control protocols are working and everything is in place to get the job done. To make the infection control process easier now a number of products are available in the market. You can implement them in the hospitals for the better results. The infection control contractors, as well as the hospital employees, should be educated about monitoring and practising the infection control.

For many, it may not be the best of concerns, but having proper infection control in place will lead to happy and healthy patients.

Guest Post from Ashton Blagden, Dealslands.co.uk

patient identification for patient safety

HIMSS 2017 Recap and Announcing the Winner of our Booth Giveaway

patient identification for patient safety

The RightPatient team had a very successful 2017 HIMSS conference.

For those that attended the 2017 HIMSS Conference in Orlando, welcome back to reality! Even though the show ended last week, the reverberations and excitement of the information, technology, and ideas shared, unveiled, and discussed will be around for years to come.

Each annual HIMSS conference presents a wealth of knowledge and showcases perhaps the most interesting and innovative healthcare technology in the world. If you are lucky enough to attend HIMSS, you know that it’s easy to get swallowed up in the Exhibit Hall by vendors competing for your attention and blinded by the flashing lights, spinning booth displays, and boisterous entertainment. Unless you map out a specific vendor path destination or have a pre-determined agenda scheduled, things can get rather dicey navigating the hordes of people congregating in the aisles.

For those of you that took the time to stop by and visit us in the GA Health IT Pavilion (Booth #3015) to see how cognitive vision intelligence can improve patient safety and increase revenue though accurate patient identification, a sincere thank you. You were treated to not only our innovative and unique approach to solving the patient identity crises in healthcare through the use of photo biometrics, but you also were on hand to witness the unveiling of PatientLens™ – a human vision app to reduce medical errors and increase patient safety that turns any smart device into a powerful, intuitive patient ID tool.

You learned that PatientLens helps to identify unconscious patients in seconds and is an important part of an overarching strategy to reduce medical errors along the care continuum by positively identifying a patient prior to rendering services or distributing data. After all, it’s no longer feasible or realistic to define patient ID solely in the context of a physical visit to a healthcare organization. Patient identification must now be viewed as critical during each and every touchpoint along the care continuum – e.g. connected health apps, telemedicine, home health, and patient portals. Investing in a patient ID and patient data integrity technology that can only be used when a patient physically shows up for a visit is an antiquated and somewhat risky and dangerous approach. 

HIMSS 2017 Recap and Announcing the Winner of our Booth Giveaway

Another fantastic year at HIMSS! The exhibit floor was very busy.

The time is now to learn more about establishing a holistic approach to patient ID that addresses the positive identification of increasingly mobile patients with cognitive vision technology that saves lives, improves quality and reduces risk.

We would like to take a moment and announce that John Faust, VP of Health Informatics and Technology at Lifepont health was the winner of our Amazon Echo booth giveaway. Congratulations John!

We would also like to extend a thank you to the GA Department of Economic Development and the Atlanta Area Chamber of Commerce for the opportunity to share booth space and for making the entire logistical process smooth as silk. We are very grateful!

 

patient engagement in healthcare

5 Ways Technology Is Improving Doctor Patient Collaboration

patient engagement in healthcare

Is technology in healthcare playing an important role to improve patient engagement? Photo courtesy pf pixabay)

The following post on improving patient engagement in healthcare was submitted by Audrey Thorne.

Innovative technologies and groundbreaking discoveries have changed the face of the healthcare industry. Due to them, ailments that were previously life threatening are now easily cured, surgical procedures have become less invasive and self-help devices have given birth to an empowered and more health conscious society.

Moreover, in addition to enhancing the quality of patient-care, these technological advancements have also revolutionized physician-patient relationship – making it much more collaborative in nature.

Nowadays, we see doctors being able to keep a constant eye on their patients via tracking devices, patients being able to connect instantly to their physicians via video calling apps and both equally partaking in the healthcare process.

This serves to not only expand the reach of healthcare services but also makes patient-care much more pertinent and personalized. The tremendous utility of such technologies can be gauged from the fact that 52% of healthcare service providers utilize at least 3 connected health technologies to maintain contact with their patients. Here we take a look into how technology is improving doctor patient collaboration:

1. Engaging patients in the healthcare process:

The government is struggling to make optimum use of a limited amount of resources in order to provide healthcare services to a growing population. This disproportionate ratio of medical service providers to patients causes patients to endure long waiting times in healthcare settings and also inhibits physicians from spending sufficient time with patients to provide in depth consultation and monitoring.

Even in the coming decade, the Association of American Medical Colleges has projected a shortfall of physicians ranging from 61,700 to 94,700 causing healthcare providers to search for innovative ways to increase the reach as well as the scope of healthcare services.

It is due to these escalated efforts that we now have a number of devices and applications that facilitate round the clock correspondence between doctors and patients and also enable patients to become actively involved in the healthcare process.

These technologies include informative sources that give patients a greater understanding of the intricacies of their condition and possible courses of treatment and allow them to decide on a care plan in collaboration with their physician.

This in turn increases their ownership of their care plan as well as their determination to see it through.

Moreover, we also now have an array of reliable self assessment tools such as Brain Test to help detect the presence of ailments, in this case cognitive disorders, that not only serve to satisfy patient curiosity but also encourage them to seek timely medical assistance.

In addition to these, self-help apps like Fitbit allow patients to constantly monitor and improve their health. This is crucial since healthcare by nature is a two-way process where it is absolutely essential for both parties to play their part for a treatment to be effective.

Therefore, these technologies, albeit simple, have proven to be game-changers as they have allowed patients to play their part in ensuring their health and well-being.

2. Personalized services:

A decade ago, hospitals used to run on paper-based records with the staff having to go through stacks of files in order to learn about a patient’s medical history. Likewise, patients had to personally maintain their medical records and repeat their history to every doctor that they visited.

Both these factors caused healthcare services to be disease-specific whereby physicians would attempt to diagnose an ailment based on the information available and recommend treatments to resolve the underlying issue.

However, technology has shifted healthcare from being disease-specific to individual-specific as physicians are now able to use electronic medical records to provide tailored treatments to patients.

This has catapulted the quality of medi-care by allowing accurate diagnosis and treatment and has also deepened the relationship between doctors and patients. Doctors are now able to remain in touch with their patients throughout and even after the course of the treatment via online forums and applications such as Epocrates that facilitate doctor-patient dialogue.

Moreover, such apps also provide doctors with a more intricate understanding of patient condition and enhance the confidence that patients have in their healthcare provider.

They also help patients feel much more secure as they know that their physician is only a few clicks away. In addition to this, these technologies enable physicians to provide ongoing support to patients who are adjusting to new medications or have been requested to make significant lifestyle changes as part of their treatment.

3. Reduced waiting times:

People often delayed or avoided seeking medical consultation in the past because they were unable to take time out for a lengthy trip to the hospital.

However, this hesitation to endure a tedious hospital visit had serious long-term repercussions as it allowed ailments to worsen and increased the risk of hospital admissions. Thankfully, we now have bountiful apps that allow patients to gain instantaneous consultation from physicians via video calls.

Moreover, these apps have also improved correspondence between doctors and patients when it comes to arranging appointments. Patients can now receive timely reminders about upcoming appointments from their healthcare provider which consequently leads to fewer patient no-shows.

4. Improved marketing:

Hospitals use marketing channels such as emails, social media, instant messaging, etc to apprise patients about new cures and treatments in an attempt to increase the quality of patient-care and increase public awareness.

Previously, they had to send out mass emails and messages which at times would be thought of as irrelevant and spam by patients. This correspondence, however, has improved drastically over the past few years, as hospitals are now able to send out communications to specific patients with specific needs.

5. Focus on prevention rather than cure:

With social media platforms, blogs and websites, physicians are able to disseminate a huge amount of information about disease prevention and cure and are able to respond to general queries by patients.

This ready availability of information and informal access to medical consultation has shifted the focus of patients from curing ailments to avoiding them in the first place.

By doing so, doctors are not only able to help save countless lives but are also able to relieve burden off of healthcare providers who strive to provide services to an ever increasing base of clients.

Technology has revolutionized doctor-patient dynamics, however, when we look at the rampant pace of technological developments it is safe to assume that this relationship will continue to evolve drastically in the years to come.

5 Ways Technology Is Improving Doctor Patient CollaborationAudrey Throne is a mother and a professional blogger by choice. She has completed her masters in English literature from university of Birmingham. As a blogger she wrote quite a few posts on health, technology as well as management. Currently, she is associated with heartfeltadopt Team.

Find her on Twitter: @audrey_throne.

patient safety is important in healthcare

Dear Medical Professionals: 4 Steps to Help You Put Patient Safety First

patient safety is important in healthcare

Learn some simple steps to improve patient safety at your healthcare organization. (Photo courtesy of flickr)

The following guest post on patient safety in healthcare was submitted by Hannah Whittenly.

When a patient goes to the doctor’s office or a hospital, you expect that everything that has to do with your treatments will be as safe as possible. From surgical procedures to simple lab tests, doctors and other staff members should keep patients as safe as they can be so that there is no risk of getting an infection and so that there is no risk of falling in the facility. There are quite a few ways that medical professionals can help to increase patient safety to make going to the doctor or hospital a pleasant experience.

Doses and Drugs

One of the ways that medical professionals can keep patients safer is to examine the medications that are given very closely and to make sure that the proper doses are written on paperwork and the actual prescription. Many of the prescriptions that are given use abbreviations that can sometimes be confused with multiple things in the medical facility. There are also abbreviations that are used that make no sense as they relate to how often the medication needs to be given, such as once a day or the amount that is given. One of the things that offices and hospitals can do to make sure that patients are safe when it comes to these abbreviations is to not use them. If words are spelled out, then it makes it easier for everyone to see the information and to give the proper medications and doses.

Contamination Control

If you’ve ever seen any kind of surgery, then you know that there can be a bit of smoke that comes from the instrument that is used. A smoke evacuator, which is often connected to an electrosurgical generator, is a device that is used to trap or eliminate some of the smoke that is seen with surgeries. The device will help to prevent the smoke and other particles from the body before they have time to circulate in the air. Other ways to get contamination under control include washing hands more often, setting up hand washing stations and making sure everyone wears proper attire when working with patients, such as gloves and masks.

Holding On

With elderly individuals and those who have mobility issues, it’s important to have some kind of hand rail system in place. Rails should be placed on the walls in the hallways and near doors to make it easier to enter and exit. There should also be rails along stairs to make it easier to get up and down. Large rugs that don’t slide around can be placed near entry doors to prevent slipping after coming from outside, especially if it has been raining. If the medical staff isn’t busy, then someone could assist those who have trouble walking to an exam room, to the waiting area or outside to a vehicle.

Diagnostic Testing

Doctors will often perform blood work or other services to determine what is going on with the health of the patient. If tests are done and the doctor finds that more testing is needed and doesn’t follow through, then it can impede on the safety of the patient. The doctor needs to examine the tests and the health of the patient in depth to see if there are any medications that need to be given in the future or if there are any treatment options that are available to help with the condition. The doctor should also follow up with the patient after the treatment to ensure that there are no side effects.
Medical professionals should be held to the highest standards. They are working with patients’ lives in their hands. The smallest mistake could mean that someone is injured, becomes ill or even dies. If doctors and other staff pay attention and work together, then the safety of the patient will likely improve in their condition.

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.