Medications are one of the most critical parts of treating countless injuries, illnesses, and chronic conditions. They are prescribed based on the best course of treatment for the patient’s particular situation, so it is essential that the patient is given the correct pharmaceutical in the correct way for optimum results.
It is bad enough to think that a medical error gives the patient no positive change, but it is even worse when such an oversight causes a negative impact on the patient. For that reason, it is essential that everyone involved in patient care has foolproof systems and technologies for ensuring that medications and other interventions are properly provided to patients.
This is a greater challenge than one might initially think. Although patients are seen individually, the medical professionals who administer medications and other therapies are dealing with a significant overall patient load. No matter how intimately familiar they may be with a given patient’s condition, it can be very easy in the hectic pace of a hospital or clinic to get confused and make a mistake. Sadly, it happens quite often.
Healthcare staff are often operating with few verification procedures. Instructions are provided for the correct dosages and medications for the patients, but those who administer them often work alone from that point on. Despite the best efforts of hospitals to encourage loved ones to keep an eye on the care given to patients, families and even the patients themselves frequently don’t know what the patient’s medication should look like. Other patients are unconscious and/or alone, so it is typically up to the staff member alone to get things right.
Rather than attempt to memorize or guess at pill types, they need to utilize tools like a pill identifier that gives reliable information so that a floor’s worth of medication can be properly verified quickly to reduce the chances of a mistake. Should any type of interruption take place that disrupts the flow of their medication deliveries, they can quickly look up each medication and be sure that their work can be picked up right where it was left off.
Technology is no stranger to health care. After decades of confusion caused by illegible or smudged handwritten prescriptions, many are now handled electronically so that the information can be accurately and securely transferred from practitioner to pharmacist with no risk of errors or interception by abusers. This also eliminates the need for the complicated system of watermarked pads and their theft by pill abusers.
Of course, the role of technology in healthcare isn’t confined to the here-and-now factors. It also involves patient history. Electronic health records (EHRs) are much safer and more compact than old paper records, reducing space and operating in a more eco-friendly way.
Additionally, they are much easier to manage. Instead of constant duplication, faxing, shipping, and mailing, records can be sent clean and secure via email, arriving in a fraction of the time and going to as many recipients as necessary. Instead of an ailing patient having to carry a bundle of envelopes to a specialist, the records will arrive first. Not only does that make things easier for the patient, it also increases the time available for the specialist to review things before actually seeing the patient.
Gone are the days when cumbersome books and endless scribbled notes were necessary to prescribe and administer drugs correctly. Today there are countless technological assets available to medical personnel to provide support when their time, work load, and memory simply can’t keep up. Together, these skilled workers and their reliable technological tools are building a healthier tomorrow for all of us.