Using Technology Safely, to Keep Patients Safe
Medical errors harm 1.5 million people and cost $3.5 billion every year, according to The Institute of Medicine (IOM). Shockingly, or maybe not, their report claims that medical errors are not due to incompetent people, but rather are due to to bad systems that include the processes and methods used to carry out various functions.
Researchers from around the nation have begun to explore and analyze the impact of system automation on medical errors. Medical errors are most commonly traced back to the manual transmission of information across different functional units of the hospital, manual calculations of doses, and unmonitored clinical interventions.
Some wonder if the automation of information capture and transmission between agents and across the different functional units of the hospital can reduce the rate of medical errors, because they enable the automation of checks and procedures, thereby removing the human factor.
It is important to note that there have been few, if any, studies that have analyzed the relationship between automation and medical errors using actual hospital data, and apparently no study has looked at the differential impact of automating these three functions on the incidence of two types of medical errors (procedural and interpretative errors) in hospitals. Also, no other study has examined the effect of quality training programs and their complementary effect on automation of error prevention functions using actual data. The researchers behind the IOM report used panel data on incremental automation over time of the error prevention functions and actual rates of medical errors at several wards of two large, top-notch hospitals.
Health care continues to adapt to the undeniable arrival of digital technologies in the field, which will ultimately empower patients and providers alike. Indexing programs such as ICD Tagger can improve electronic health record (EHR) systems by tagging and cross-checking records to increase the accuracy of their data, and perhaps saving lives.
Machine-aided indexing solutions, such as Access Integrity’s ICD Tagger, can detect errors and analyze trends. As information is shared and more data is gathered, the software’s automated coding and anomaly identification will prove to be useful in reducing medical errors.
Melody K. Smith
Sponsored by Access Integrity, delivering advanced technology solutions for full and complete compliant processing of medical transactions to the healthcare industry.