We have all heard someone share their traumatic hospital experience, disappointing visit with a physician, and even lawsuits involving neglect or an incorrect diagnosis. In many cases, technology is viewed as a barrier that hinders care.
In today’s post, we are going to focus on IT infrastructure and the role it can play in a patient’s outcome. Healthcare organizations have gone decades without modernizing their IT infrastructure which is unfathomable compared to other industries like banking, cell phone networks, and many more.
Technology is not the bad guy in healthcare. There are many skeptics who think that humans are better at eliminating errors than a machine, but according to Raj Ratwani, PhD, Director of the MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, in an article in Health IT Analytics,“If clinicians use the technology on the front lines, it could lead to improved clinical decision support and new information at the point of care.” When technology is designed to be user-centric, it can lead to positive and safe outcomes for patients. “Well-designed products ensure that our clinicians can seamlessly interact with the technology, and help them deliver better safer care,” states Ratwani.
Basic technology advancements, such as organizations and medical imaging centers ditching CDs and moving towards cloud-based solutions, is one of the many ways to improve patient safety. “To improve safety, we have to take a systems approach that is focused on making changes to the environment, as opposed to just retraining individuals,” Ratwani said. According to a survey by Ambra Health, relying on CDs for trauma transfers can cause delays of up to 25 minutes of time wasted. Minutes and even seconds in a trauma situation can be crucial to saving a patient’s life. By automating the sending of medical images through a cloud platform like Ambra Health, images get where they need to be when they need to be there and reduce the time for errors to occur.
CDs are known to be error-prone. CDs oftentimes can’t be opened, include the wrong patient studies, and often force the physician to use an embedded viewer that is difficult to use. This is not to say that technology doesn’t have errors. There will be inaccuracies from time to time, and that is where doctors need to disclose those faults to the patient directly. Quality-based care is helping to make progress with this problem in radiology. In a recent article by Michael Walter in Radiology Business, he shares that, “Highlighting quality means that errors are being recognized, shared and categorized more regularly, which leads to more opportunities for quality improvement to take place.”
Ultimately, it is up to the doctors, nurses, and other clinicians to make final decisions regarding a patient’s health, but online platforms and systems can be there to aid them in those decisions. In a recent article in Health IT Analytics, Jessica Kent shares, “Developing health IT solutions with providers in mind will ensure machine learning and other AI tools augment clinicians’ abilities and act as complementary decision support.” Health IT helps healthcare move forward by increasing patient safety, decreasing medical errors, and making interactions between patients and providers more enjoyable.