Technology plays a big role in our society because almost everything we do involves technology. It is not constant as it keeps on improving and as it changes, so do our lifestyles change for the better mostly. Technology has a huge variety, it may include; communication or just chemicals. It has also become a huge part in our professions and in almost every workplace; technology is being put into use. The emergence of information technologies helped many work places because it makes work much easier. In the field of medicine especially in hospitals, it has been helpful in various ways and lessened their load in different methods. The focus of this paper will be on how information computerized data entry to help reduce medical errors.
Medical errors are mistakes made in the field of medicine caused by several factors that are avoidable which usually end up costing the life of a patient or scarring them permanently. Some of these factors include; physicians who lack the required skills and experience, giving the patients wrong diagnosis or even strained communication between the patient and the doctor. All these factors are being corrected with the evolving of information technology in hospitals and medicine in general.
Hospitals that have not adopted healthcare information technology are more likely to make medical mistakes that are avoidable. “Data continue to show that medication errors are frequent and that adverse drug events, or injuries due to drugs, occur more often than necessary” (Bates par.1). Patients who fall victim to medical errors mostly end up dead or in critical conditions. With information technology, these errors can be easily corrected before they affect a patient or even better they can be avoided. When a patient is diagnosed incorrectly, the doctor ends up giving them the wrong dosage and this is what puts their lives in danger but with IT the patient is diagnosed correctly and given the right drugs. Therefore, in other terms one can easily say that IT saves lives.
One of the main reasons for opting to use IT to prevent medical errors in hospitals is through storage of data electronically other than the paper system which is done manually and mistakes are hard to avoid. The electronic system known as the electronic medical records (EMR), which is very important because the information is available to other physicians if need arises. This information is necessary and the doctors need to have it, “having all the pertinent information available to health care professionals at the varied points of care is of utmost importance” (Watchter par. 8). They are accurate and chances of wrong data entries are minimal, a patient’s encounter with other physician’s can be easily tracked and can therefore, be diagnosed correctly.
Another method that has had a lot of impact in reducing medical errors is the computerized Physician order entry (CPOE). It entails orders being given by the physician online; this method is very safe and widely recommended. The orders given entail information such as; the type, and the how often the patient should take it. The patient making the orders gives general information that will be able to identify him. Information such as allergic reactions and lab descriptions of the drug is provided for the patient.
Bar- coding has helped reduce number of errors made in data entry. It is a certain method of entry of data that is being used by many institutions and the medicine field has currently adopted the method but is to agree on a certain pattern suitable to all. “Some hospitals in the United States have already successfully implemented bar coding” (Bates par. 10). Other hospitals are eager to use the bar coding but need to come to the same agreeable terms.
Healthcare information technology also helps hospitals cut on unnecessary expenditure. When medical errors are made, the hospital loses a lot of money trying to compensate on the patients. In such cases investigations are usually carried out to be sure whether it was a medical error or not and it ends up costing the hospital money. Hence, when medical errors are avoided by investing in information technology, the hospitals save money.
The information technology restores faith in patients because they trust the machines more than they do staff because apparently, man is to error. Some of the patients have experienced medical errors either indirectly or directly and this leaves them traumatized. So when they see that most hospitals with advanced healthcare IT have had very minimal errors that have not been that fatal, they tend feel more reassured.
Hospitals are located in many different areas and the doctors may be from different countries or even the patient but with information technology, communication has improved between the two. It was very difficult if not impossible for communication between a patient and a doctor who do not have a common language. Since doctors have to ask patients many questions to be able to determine what the problem, it was hard to come to an understanding if there was no translator present. With information technology, there are many translators available and hence, understanding each other is not that hard. This also helps save time just incase a patient’s life is in critical condition and he is treated quickly and medical errors are limited.
Therefore, healthcare information technology has helped improve the value and quality of hospitals. Ever since most hospitals chose to implement the use of information technology in their operations in the hospital, more lives are saved and there are minimal complaints of medical errors. The doctors are even more informed and can therefore treat the patients more effectively. Patients who did not believe in going to hospital for treatment are now changing their beliefs and benefiting from hospitals too. Therefore, information can come to the rescue of medical errors and help save lives.
Bates, David. Using Information Technology to Reduce Rates of Medication Errors in Hospitals. Education and Debate 320: 788- 791. Web.
Wachter, Glenn. Medical Errors: Will Technology Come To The Rescue. Web.