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Technology can help prevent medical mistakes, survey says

A recent survey shows that patients are looking to technology to help reduce medical mistakes.

A recent survey shows that patients are looking to technology to help reduce medical mistakes.

Accidents happen. That's just reality. Except, in the healthcare industry, accidents can cost thousands of dollars or more and put the lives of patients in jeopardy. Technological advancements, however, continue to make many of these mistakes easy to avoid, and patients can appreciate that.

According to a recent study conducted by Wolters Kluwer Health, 68 percent of patients believe technology will help considerably in reducing medical mistakes. What's even more telling is that 30 percent of respondents said they or a family member had to deal with mistakes made with incorrect medications, dosages or treatment methods.

What caused these missteps? According to the survey results, 35 percent attribute them to miscommunication among medical staff, while 26 percent believe doctors and nurses being in a hurry was the culprit, and 14 percent pointed a finger at staff fatigue.

These findings all circle back to the main point – the majority of patients believe advancing technology can curb the frequency of such inconvenient and even dangerous mistakes.

Managed IT support coupled with the latest tech innovations can drastically improve the efficiency of healthcare practices and address each of the causal factors cited in the Wolters Kluwer Health study. Electronic medical records and the integration of tablet and smartphone devices, along with mobile medical apps, can all help to streamline workflows. As a result, staff won't feel as rushed or fatigued.

According to an article at FierceHealthIT, officials at Children's Hospital of Colorado found that including patient photos in their records system can help to reduce order entry errors. EMR consultants can work with medical practices of all sizes to implement such a feature.

Many of these avenues go unexplored because practices do not have the IT staff or training to know they exist or how to integrate them.