Information Technologies and Minimizing Medical Errors

Words: 551
Topic: Health & Medicine
Updated:

Introduction

The article, titled “Using Specialized Information Technology to Reduce Errors in Emergency Cardiac Care”, describes the development and implementation of information technology (IT) that incorporates the existing Acute Cardiac Ischemia Time-Insensitive Predictive Instrument (ACI-TIPI) decision-support technology into a patient safety/quality enhancement reporting Time-Insensitive Predictive Instrument Information System (TIPI-IS) database and feedback system.

As demonstrated by the authors of this article, the IT systems have the capacity to not only avail necessary decision support and feedback to clinicians, but also to swiftly and accurately identify, triage and treat the comparatively small proportion of patients who require immediate emergency care due to incidences of acute coronary syndrome (Daudelin, Kwong, Beshansky, & Selker, 2005).

Summary and Key Points

In brief, the article focuses on how IT Systems (ACI-TIPI-IS) using multiple information technology applications and web-based interfaces served as an important tool for clinicians in terms of providing a framework to combine real-time decision support, alerting, and retrospective feedback for performance improvement for patients presenting to the emergency department due to incidences of acute coronary syndrome.

The IT systems were able to increase patient safety while substantially reducing medical error problems, not mentioning that they afforded clinicians with the capacity for real-time decision support through the use of a device (ACI-TIPI electrocardiograph) that was able to determine the likelihood of patients having incidences of acute coronary syndrome (Daudelin et al., 2005).

This view is reinforced in the literature by Bubalo et al. (2013), who acknowledge that developing technologies and evolving workflows appear to be the only logical approach to availing supplementary safeguards against medical errors.

Overall, the article reveals that:

  1. the database created by the IT systems served as a rich source of information that could be utilized to identify actual or potential patient safety challenges and also to support the quality enhancement cycle,
  2. the IT systems had an effective framework to send alerts to notify health professionals at the earliest possible time that a patient might require immediate follow-up, further evaluation or treatment,
  3. the IT systems had the capacity to provide monthly physician and hospital-level feedback reports on the management of ED patients and also to distribute them to relevant professionals,
  4. the IT systems had the capability to offer clinicians with real-time decision support (Daudelin et al., 2005).

Opinion and Conclusion

From the review, it is clear that IT systems such as the ACI-TIPI and TIPI-IS-based project present the best chance in terms of minimizing medical errors in triage and treatment for emergency cardiac conditions and other health-related medical issues. However, it is my opinion that extensive training needs to be undertaken to ensure the competency of health professionals in using these IT systems.

As demonstrated by Redelmeier and Detsky (2013), medical errors may still persist if health professionals running emergent IT systems enter incorrect values or variables, or if a particular system malfunction.

Additionally, owing to the fact that these IT systems use Web-based protocols to communicate important and sensitive patient information, it is imperative for stakeholders to address underlying privacy concerns and ensure that the clinicians can use a secure verification procedure to access them easily. Overall, it is my considered opinion that, if effectively and efficiently applied, information technology has an immense capacity to minimize medical errors and enhance patient care outcomes in healthcare settings.

References

Bubalo, J., Warden, B.A., Wiegel, J.J., Nishida, T., Handel, E., Svoboda, L.M…Edillo, P.N. (2013). Does applying technology throughout the medication use process improve patient safety with antineoplastics? Journal of Oncology Pharmacy Practice, 20(6), 445-460.

Daudelin, D.H., Kwong, M., Beshansky, J.R., & Selker, H.P. (2005). Using specialized information technology to reduce errors in emergency cardiac care. Advances in Patient Safety, 3, 7-21.

Redelmeier, D.A., & Detsky, A.S. (2013). Pitfalls with smartphones in medicine. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 28(10), 1260-1263.