0 5 mins 2 mths

By Devidas Bhalerao

The Healthcare community is a trusted fraternity, and this calls them to take extra caution while taking out a treatment regime. The slightest error can cause a life to the patient, hence out of all the parameters during patient care, medical errors stand out in terms of preventable occurrence. A medical error essentially refers to; a patient’s extended stay in the hospital or any additional cost/therapy beyond the required treatment. This makes medical errors a prominent source of unfavorable healthcare outcomes.

Medical errors being high in incidence, causes thousands of deaths in hospitals each year. Medical errors endanger healthcare quality, raise healthcare costs, and exacerbate the medical malpractice crisis. According to a recent Harvard study, 5.2 million medical errors occur in India annually and around the globe, it is 138 million patients (according to WHO). More than 1 in 10 patients are harmed during their medical care, and half of those injuries are preventable. Among the preventable errors, 12% led to a patient’s permanent disability or death.

Delving deeper into medical errors

Medical errors are one of the dominant and deciding factors for the quality of care. Therefore, taking it lightly can not only result in poor quality of care but also leads to the increased cost of the treatment. Generally, medical errors are frequent only because there is a lack of safety culture. This includes a robust error reporting system in the workplace, and an internal quality control/ audit team. Also, lack of knowledge and training, short span of attention while giving medicines/ treatment to the patients, improper time management, poor monitoring, and confusion regarding the dosage could be some of the reasons as to why these medical errors occur.

Understanding gaps in the patient care

  • Reducing medical errors requires an environment of continuous discovery and analysis, further, to understand, the majority of the medical errors can be classified into (a) prescribing medication (b) inappropriately ordering laboratory tests for the wrong patient at the wrong time (c) filing system error (d) giving wrong medication (e) failing to promptly respond to abnormal laboratory test results. One common ground in the above-mentioned situations of medical errors is that they can be avoided if they are approached with the objective of quality care. Furthermore, effective training of all personnel involved in this ecosystem (clinicians, nurses, and pharmacists) as well as an improvement in staff competency can be extremely beneficial. As a result, reducing medical errors and contributing to better patient outcomes is the collective responsibility of the entire hospital management. This includes a cultural shift of using new-age digital tools in bringing efficiency. For instance, tools like EMR help in streamlining the treatment process. It allows the clinician to access patients’ medical records while eliminating the pen and paper culture. This helps in improving the coordination of health care services, reducing waste, and keeping a check on redundant tests.

Role of Clinical Decision Support System (CDSS)

Enhanced patient safety entails three complementary activities: error prevention, error detection, and error mitigation. This can also include using information technology (IT) as a key first step in transforming and changing the healthcare environment to achieve better and safe patient outcomes. Digital technology helps clinicians in the storage, retrieval, sharing, and use of clinical information, data, and knowledge for effective communication. Digital tools like CDSS help physicians by highlighting errors and enhancing error prevention. CDSS gives a variety of decision-making aids, such as alerts, reminders, advice, critiques, and suggestions for better treatment. CDSS can reduce inaccuracy rates by influencing physician behavior, improving clinical care, and increasing patient outcomes (survival rate, length of patient stays, and cost). CDSS tools help in automated decision support, clinical research, data mining, and patient disease management. Integration of CDSS into EMR is very useful and necessary, especially for research and to improve the quality of care, because it makes the documenting process simple and accessible with only a few clicks. The CDSS accuracy has been proven to be higher than human accuracy in numerous instances. CDSS focuses on leveraging knowledge management to provide clinical advice based on a variety of patient-related data elements. Devidas Bhalerao,Director Academics and Clinical Research, Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune.

(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are sole of the author and ETHealthworld does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETHealthworld.com shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organisation directly or indirectly.)

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