4 Ways to Utilize Technology to Protect Your Patients
The following guest post on how to protect patient safety in healthcare was submitted by Kara Masterson.
Healthcare technology has continued its rapid change over the last few decades. This impacts every level of healthcare. Physicians and office staff must work to integrate the appropriate improvements into every day practice, while continuing to provide excellent patient care. Hospitals must increase the effectiveness and efficiency of staff and offices while treating patients with acute and chronic conditions. Evaluating and utilizing applicable technology in each setting assist in protecting patients in the organization.
In the Laboratory
Hospital laboratories are filled with opportunities for errors. For the most part, microscopes and slides have been replaced with sophisticated diagnostic machines that are able to conduct several individual tests from the same sample at the same time. Unfortunately, the danger of misidentification of specimens remains. Utilizing the most up to date equipment possible and having a reliable identification and reporting system go a long way in having confidence in the accuracy of test results. A study published by the National Institute of Health (NIH) suggests using bar codes on containers to “link specimens to identifying electronic information.”
Patient Engagement in Care
A relatively new area of health care technology can be found in interactive patient engagement systems. Generally used with in patient care or for patients with chronic diseases, the systems connect health care staff with patients through a cloud based service. With a patient-centered approach to health care, these systems are designed to keep patients and their families engaged and participating in their care leading to a positive outcome for the patient. The systems provide information, education and entertainment options for in patients. The systems can be monitored by nurses and staff and are designed to promote communication and interaction between the patient, family and hospital doctors and nurses.
The NIH reports that one of the greatest barriers to effective health care is effective communication between health care professionals. In order to improve this and get the best care possible for patients, doctors and software companies are teaming up to develop communication tools that allow such varied business operations as specialist collaboration, remote access and staff training. The cloud-based service uses the lessons learned from social media to improve health care for patients. Through video conferencing, patients can be evaluated and diagnosed by a remote specialist. A hospital system with multiple offices can bring staff together to learn more about the most recent health regulations. The software involved can be utilized on a variety of device types with nearly unlimited access points.
Remote Tracking Tools
More and more, doctors are utilizing remote tracking tools to assist in patient care. Caring for patients with multiple, chronic conditions continue to be one of the greatest concerns in health care. With remote tracking, patients with diabetes and kidney disease can be closely monitored in the home. Elderly patients also benefit from this technology through mobility monitoring and check in services. Other benefits of these tracking tools can be found in diagnostics where laboratories can “observe” patient statistics over a period of time to better understand reported symptoms. Patients are able to be at home, improving quality of life and reducing health care costs.
Technology that has a direct impact on diagnosis and treatment are constantly improving. The offices and companies that understand and embrace the innovations that work for their situations will improve patient care by being more accurate and efficient. Each tool comes with a price tag, so it will be incumbent on organization administrators to determine which will work best for the clientele the organization serves.
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.