Hospitals and data efficiency through EHR
Written by Joyce Morse
One of the big concerns for patients and even for the hospitals themselves is that all information be maintained for better and more accurate patient care.
The numbers regarding hospital mistakes that result in patient deaths are staggering. In fact, they continue to rise in spite of new technology.
According to a report by the Institute of Medicine from 1999, as many as 98,000 people died each year due to hospital errors. In 2010, that number almost doubled to 180,000. The latest study from Journal of Patient Safety is estimating from 210,000 and 440,000 deaths related to poor patient care. How can hospitals reduce these statistics?
Accurate Medication Administration
The top hospitals are making it a priority to improve patient care and reduce errors that lead to illnesses and death. They have increased the time that nurses spend on bedside care and have created new checklists for surgical procedures.
Medication errors are one of the big errors that cause complications and serious consequences.
Many hospitals have utilized new technology to require computer entry for prescriptions. This eliminates transcription errors.
This technology also prevents doctors from prescribing more than the recommended dose without taking extra measures. The rest of the medical staff must then use the same technology to administer the medication.
Some hospitals are using medication bracelets that must be scanned to ensure the correct person is getting the medication.
Because this medication is entered electronically, it is matched against the rest of the patient's record. This prevents the doctor or staff from administering medicine that could interact with other medicines or that the patient may be allergic to. This is another method for how big data is transforming healthcare.
Hospitals are not only working on preventing infection caused by contaminated devices, but on containing diseases to prevent the spread of infectious conditions.
For instance, door signs are put in place on rooms of contagious patients. An electronic device can screen for early signs of sepsis to begin treatment early and help prevent deaths.
Staffs are also using checklists to ensure that they are using proper procedures when working with patients to prevent the spread of infection.
Surgical and After-Surgery Care
Some hospitals are looking at new ways to improve patient care during and after surgery to prevent mistakes.
For instance, there are checklists that must be completed prior to the surgery. Top hospitals even perform drills to practice providing emergency life-saving care to a patient in the ICU. This helps to prevent the chaos that can happen in a life-or-death situation. Staff changing shifts may update their replacements right by the patient's bedside, which helps prevent misinformation from being given or received.
While more improvements need to be made, the hospitals that are focusing on these changes are making headway in the area of patient safety.
The numbers show that these new procedures are working, and more hospitals need to consider implementation.
About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including SEO and healthcare.
NHS staff face severe impact on mental health due to COVID
The decision to drop COVID-19 restrictions in England this month alarmed doctors in the National Health Service (NHS) while hospitalisations are on the rise. At the same time, hospitals have started cancelling operations again adding to the existing backlog of operations, which estimates say could take a year to clear.
Dr James Gilleen of the University of Roehampton and his Covida Project team are warning of the ongoing risks to the mental health of NHS staff, many of whom are traumatised from the first wave of infections. “As the UK continues to see COVID-19 infection numbers rise at a similarly alarming rate as those seen during the country’s second wave, it’s combined with a renewed strain on the NHS and its staff" he said.
The Covida Project is a digital tool created to assess the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on frontline workers including NHS staff, the police and carers.
“Healthcare workers are already exhausted and burnt-out; they are traumatised from their experiences of working during the pandemic. During the first wave in May 2020, a study from the Covida Project found an unprecedented quadrupling of the number of NHS staff with high levels of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) compared to before Covid-19" Gilleen said.
"Having the most severe levels of these symptoms was statistically linked to four key factors - insufficient access or pressure to reuse Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), insufficient workplace preparation, insufficient training and communications, and a higher workload. Staff aren’t just anxious, depressed and traumatised from being over-worked – it is from feeling unsafe and at risk."
The Covida Project found that almost a third of healthcare workers reported moderate to severe levels of anxiety and depression. The number reporting very high symptoms was four times higher than before the pandemic.
Gilleen adds, “With COVID-19 restrictions now fully removed in England, NHS staff face the daunting triple-threat of rising Covid-19 hospitalisations, huge backlogs of medical operations to clear, and the added expectation of large increases in winter flu, which is already being seen even now in summer.
"These difficulties are present at a time when the NHS is already under-resourced, impacted by sickness and/or staff being ‘pinged’ to self-isolate through the government’s track and trace app, and staff continuing to fear the daily risk of infecting family and friends.
"Together these are considerable psychological burdens and create a perfect storm for the mental health and well-being of NHS staff."
Gilleen says there may be worse to come, especially if new, more transmissible variants develop. "Previous research after other pandemics such as SARS has shown that residual mental health symptoms like PTSD can continue for years, so the impact of repeated waves over the long-term will be potentially catastrophic for the mental health of NHS staff.
He has some clear recommendations to protect the wellbeing of frontline healthcare workers. “To protect the mental health of NHS staff they must feel they are less at risk or in danger, have access to the required level of PPE, not be continuously over-worked, with better staffing, more opportunities for rest and space to share their stress.
"Despite this and similar findings from other studies, still not enough is being done to protect NHS staff mental health and wellbeing and we fear it will continue to suffer in the months to come. With this comes the real risk that large numbers of staff will burn out or even quit the NHS.”