Technologies in Health Care: Electronic Health Record and Culture of Safety

Benefits of Implementing an Electronic Health Record

An electronic health record (EHR) is one of the latest digital versions of how patient’s information is stored. A chart with records is available to hospital workers or other authorized users in real-time. The main reason for its implementation is to improve the quality of care and achieve positive patient outcomes.

According to Yanamadala, Morrison, Curtin, McDonald, and Hernandez-Boussard (2016), EHRs’ benefits also include the possibility to measure inpatient mortality, reduce or control the number of readmissions, and demonstrate successful patient safety indicators. An EHR system is a chance to go beyond clinical standards and create files with all the necessary information about patients, focusing on their past diagnoses, medications, treatment, allergies, and laboratory results. Healthcare providers use these records to make their decisions about care that should be offered to patients.

EHRs are available to hospital employees, and patients do not have direct access to these files. EHRs are needed only when a patient addresses for help and a healthcare provider is already involved in safety events (Alotaibi & Federico, 2017).

There are many other ways to make EHRs more useful and functional. For example, these charts can be available to patients to study their medical histories and consider possible approaches to improve the quality of life. Another benefit is an opportunity to share personal medical data with different experts around the whole world. It happens that people want to ask for help online, but health experts cannot give clear answers because of the lack of information about patients and the peculiarities of their health. When EHRs are available to patients, improved exchange of information, free communication with medical workers, and regular updates and reminders contribute to disease control and prevention.

Culture of Safety Regarding Technology

There is an evident connection between recent technological progress and a variety of improvements in health care and medicine. In their intentions to promote patient safety, healthcare workers develop numerous strategies and investigations to identify and learn from their mistakes. About 98,000 American patients die annually because of medical errors that could be prevented (Aziz, 2016). To reduce the number of mistakes, multiple strategies are created from a technological point of view, including electronic medical records, remote patient monitoring, telemedicine, and automated dispensing cabinets (Alotaibi & Federico, 2017). The goal to support a culture of safety has been set in many hospitals, and people should enlarge their knowledge of this term.

Technologies should lead to positive outcomes in health care and facilitate the work of medical employees. According to Aziz (2016), a culture of safety is an idealistic environment with properly defined safety values and no medical errors. It is a mechanism that promotes the exchange of information and effective care offered to any patient. Due to such characteristics, shared responsibility turns out to be one of the most effective strategies for developing a culture of safety regarding technology.

All stakeholders like care providers, healthcare facilities and departments, and public organizations should share responsibility for safety to develop new rules, regulations, and guidelines and make sure to meet all the standards of care (Sitting, Belmont, & Singh, 2018). It is not enough to use technology and make one person or a group of definite people control the exchange of information and the use of technological tools. Each healthcare provider, as well as patients and their families, may contribute to the promotion of a culture of safety regarding technology, and shared responsibility is a good starting point.

References

Alotaibi, Y. K., & Federico, F. (2017). The impact of health information technology on patient safety. Saudi Medical Journal, 38(12), 1173-1180. Web.

Aziz, H. A. (2016). Using health information technology to enhance a culture of safety. Journal of Biosensors & Bioelectronics, 7(3), 1-3. Web.

Sittig, D. F., Belmont, E., & Singh, H. (2018). Improving the safety of health information technology requires shared responsibility: It is time we all step up. Healthcare, 6(1), 7–12. Web.

Yanamadala, S., Morrison, D., Curtin, C., McDonald, K., & Hernandez-Boussard, T. (2016). Electronic health records and quality of care: An observational study modeling impact on mortality, readmissions, and complications. Medicine, 95(19), 1-6. Web.