The modern period of social development is characterized by a strong influence of computer technologies that penetrate into all the spheres of human activity and ensure the dissemination of information flows. Medicine is one of those areas where the introduction of appropriate equipment today is an essential and integral component of effective care. Informatics in the clinical setting helps to significantly alleviate tasks for both doctors and junior medical personnel.
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In order to analyze the impact of computer technologies on the quality of care, the activity of a specialist in monitoring an electronic database of patients will be considered. Based on the interview with the employee, such topics will be considered as the impact of activities on the quality of care, the difficulties that arise during work, as well as the skills that are required. The implementation of informatics in the clinical setting in accordance with the adopted reforms in the field of medicine allows achieving successful delivery of medical care and contributes to the simplification of all functions performed by personnel.
Role Description and Education Level
The main task of the specialist in the control of patients’ electronic database is to monitor the storage of information entered and the systematization of all sections. Also, in case of the program malfunction or failure, the employee needs to timely remove all the defects so that they could not negatively affect the medical personnel’s work and the quality of care. In order to use this database and have access to its management, it is required to complete a special training course based on the study of the program features and the peculiarities of its work. Theoretically, any employee can learn to operate in the electronic program after the full period of training.
Impact of the Role on Patient Safety and Care
The influence of the interviewee’s work on patient safety and the quality of care is obvious. Doctors and nurses have much faster access to information about each necessary patient if relevant data are in the electronic register and are not stored in paper documents. Moreover, according to Singh and Sittig (2016), the use of such an information system reduces the number of potential nursing errors, which is essential in the clinical setting.
Information cannot be lost because it is located on external storage resources. Significant benefits are also noted for medical personnel since, at any moment, every physician of a particular clinic can look at any patient’s medical history where procedures, medications, consultations, and other important information will be displayed. Therefore, monitoring the operation of the entire system is an important task.
Human Factors and Other Challenges
In the process of working with an electronic database, some challenges may arise. Thus, for instance, human factors can negatively affect the functioning of the system – incorrect data recording, an error in indicating the storage location, and mistakes errors caused by inattention. Also, the unpreparedness of employees can cause failures in the system. If the staff does not have any skills to work with specific software, it can significantly slow down the speed of work and, as a consequence, negatively affect the quality of care. Meeks et al. (2014) claim that in the process of working with electronic systems in the clinical setting, unforeseen difficulties can arise with the security of data stored in the program. The work of the control specialist means tracking possible failures and their timely elimination.
When evaluating the conducted interview concerning the content of the respondent’s answers, it is possible to note the high level of specialist training not only in the sphere under consideration but also in healthcare issues. According to the survey results, the interviewee underwent special training courses to be prepared for working in the electronic patient data storage system. Before these courses, the specialist worked as a nurse in the clinic.
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The existing experience is important since in the process of using the software, not only technical nuances can be taken into account but also some issues related to healthcare. Thus, for example, in case of inaccurate or erroneous data input in the register, the respondent can notice it and point out a mistake to the colleague. Thus, versatile skills allow the interviewee to successfully cope with specific tasks and at the same time have a good reputation as a responsible and qualified employee.
Impact of Governing Agencies on Patient Care
In order for work to comply with the modern standards of the quality of medical care, some governing agencies serve as supervisory boards. One of them is the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which is engaged in evaluating patient safety indicators. As Guise et al. (2014) note, AHRQ examines complex cases of medical interventions and monitors the activities of all healthcare employees, including junior medical personnel.
Another agency is the Joint Commission Patient Safety Goals that also monitors the quality of direct patient care and controls compliance with the provisions of physician and nursing codes. The impact of these organs is significant since they are endowed with substantial full powers and can impose severe sanctions on those clinical settings where violations are detected.
Utilized Informatics Reform
The constant development of the healthcare sector is largely due to relevant legislative changes. One of such changes is the Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform (TIGER). As O’Connor, Hubner, Shaw, Blake, and Ball (2017) remark, TIGER “was established in 2006 in the United States to develop key areas of informatics in nursing” (p. 78). The provisions of this reform determine the constant updating of existing software to improve the quality of patient care and access to modern healthcare technologies.
Regarding the electronic database under consideration, TIGER’s activity allows the successful implementation of this system in a specific clinical setting. This approach makes it possible to significantly improve the level of opportunities for medical workers and simplify the tasks for nurses who constantly work with patients and are forced to remember much information. TIGER helps to make care more modern and safe, which is important in the conditions of requirements to the level of medical aid.
The introduction of an up-to-date and valuable electronic patient information storage system in the clinical setting makes it possible to significantly simplify the task for medical personnel and provide patient safety. The role of the interviewee is essential since monitoring the program requires professionalism and the availability of relevant skills. A number of challenges can arise in the process of work, which can be caused by human factors and other circumstances. Certain management agencies control the implementation of modern technologies in the healthcare system and act as supervisory boards that are responsible for equipping clinical settings with the necessary equipment.
Guise, J. M., Chang, C., Viswanathan, M., Glick, S., Treadwell, J., Umscheid, C. A.,… Anderson, J. (2014). Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Evidence-based Practice Center methods for systematically reviewing complex multicomponent health care interventions. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 67(11), 1181-1191.
Meeks, D. W., Smith, M. W., Taylor, L., Sittig, D. F., Scott, J. M., & Singh, H. (2014). An analysis of electronic health record-related patient safety concerns. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 21(6), 1053-1059.
O’Connor, S., Hubner, U., Shaw, T., Blake, R., & Ball, M. (2017). Time for TIGER to ROAR! Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform. Nurse Education Today, 58, 78-81.
Singh, H., & Sittig, D. F. (2016). Measuring and improving patient safety through health information technology: The Health IT Safety Framework. BMJ Quality & Safety, 25(4), 226-232.