At healthcare industry events, most of the discussions I hear typically concentrate on care quality performance and cost reduction. While these are important pursuits, seemingly overlooked in these conversations is patient safety, which is concerning. Preventable medical errors are still the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer, claiming the lives of more than 400,000 people each year.
The good news is, however, improving patient safety is highly conducive to improving clinical quality and reducing costs. Clinical mobility can get you there. When safety is the focus, the right patients tend to receive the right medication and treatment at the right time, potentially harmful duplicative or unnecessary tests and treatments are eliminated, and the correct data are captured and analyzed to support the most beneficial, and safest clinical outcome.
Over the next several weeks, we’ll be discussing through a series four elements of patient safety healthcare organizations need to address. Based on a recent report by the ECRI Institute, “Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns for Healthcare Organizations for 2015,” the four safety concerns that we’ll be addressing here are:
Data integrity. In order to drive safe, effective clinical interventions, data must be accurate, timely, and trusted by the provider. In some cases, data lacks integrity because clinicians are entering delayed information away from the point of care based on handwritten slips of paper or they are interrupted during data entry, resulting in potential errors. With a mobile, point-of-care platform, clinicians can enter data directly from the bedside to their core HIS systems, where they can capture the basic information, but also the more granular data that might be forgotten if entry were delayed.
Alarm hazards. With multiple pieces of patient hospital equipment sounding alerts and alarms all day, mostly due to non-urgent reasons, clinicians can become desensitized to the sounds, a condition commonly known as “alarm fatigue.” PatientTouch Communications organizes the chaos in one application.
Medication reconciliation. Inaccurate medication reconciliation can lead to adverse drug-drug or drug-allergy interactions, which is why it is highlighted in the ECRI Institute’s report. By allowing clinicians to remain at bedside, PatientTouch encourages more accurate and complete medication reconciliation. The unified and flexible platform also serves as the clinician’s barcode medication administration device, which can be integrated with the hospital’s electronic medication administration record. The result is a comprehensive, accurate, real-time, accessible record of all the patient’s medications at any point, by all caregivers.
Hand-offs and transport. Likewise, real-time medication data along with vitals, I/O information, assessment status and clinical to-do lists help ensure safe transitions of care. As we will explain further in this blog post series, PatientTouch streamlines patient handoffs and assignments by delivering all this information to each subsequent clinician who is automatically in sync with the designated care team. This seamless transfer prevents the patient’s care plan from being overlooked, delayed, or mistaken, resulting in safe, high-quality, and cost-effective care.
We hope you’ll return to our blog in a couple weeks to learn more about how PatientTouch clinical mobility encourages accurate data capture for improved integrity and how our Mobile Care Orchestration™ platform can solve care delivery issues and improve outcomes.
 Journal of Patient Safety: September 2013 – Volume 9 – Issue 3 – p 122–128. https://journals.lww.com/journalpatientsafety/Fulltext/2013/09000/A_New,_Evidence_based_Estimate_of_Patient_Harms.2.aspx