Technology Change Proposal: The Case for Patient Safety
Patient safety and healthcare quality are some of the integral parts of medical practice in contemporary times. With the right technology, it is possible not only to improve the performance of healthcare facilities but also to create a bigger impact on patients in terms of safety and quality. Technology improves communication between clinician groups; improves the safety of the patient medication. It is also possible to improve access to medication information, reduce the probability of medication errors, and to encourage patient-centered care. Through the impacts on the operations and communications efficiency, technology can help in boosting patient safety. Technologies proposed for improving patient safety should therefore address any of the risks to patient safety and subsequently affect patient safety. The present proposal is for medical alerts and clinical flags to improve patient safety.
Proposed Technology Change and its Impacts on Patient Safety
Medical alerts, clinical flags, and reminders are some of the most viable technologies that can be used for the improvement of patient safety in different ways. Medical alert systems are also referred to as personal emergency response systems and are used mostly by those who suffer from chronic conditions. However, such systems are proposed for the general healthcare practice to enable all patients to gain from the benefits associated with them rather than confining the benefits to a particular patient population. Access to such systems can promote emergency response to any medical issues including when patients experience a fall, a fire, or anything else that requires urgent medical attention. Clinical flags and reminders purpose to improve the efficiency of drug administration and usage (Foisey, 2010). The combination of these technologies and their incorporation into the general electronic health recording systems can boost patient safety significantly.
One of the most common risks to patient safety is medication errors. Such errors occur at different stages in the healthcare process and can be the result of different system characteristics. For instance, prescription errors can occur as a result of miscommunication or missed interpretation of prescriptions (Foisey, 2017). These may lead to serious complications for the patient and may even result in fatality. Prescription and administration errors can be reduced through clinical flags. Missed medications or clinical no-shows are other possible causes of medication errors and patient safety risks. Through reminders and clinical flags, such outcomes can be reduced, improving patient safety outcomes and promoting efficient utilization of medication. If used by the patients through physician intervention, they can significantly result in improved patient safety. For instance, reminders introduced into the healthcare process can help patients adhere to scheduled physician meetings, physicians to effectively manage patient medications, and pharmacists to perform better at drug dispensing.
Factors affecting Change Implementation
The change implementation process can be affected by several factors namely, environmental, human, and technological factors. Factors such as perceived change attributes such as performance expectancy and projected level of effort; human factors such as social influence, individual characteristics such as receptivity and resistance; and facilitating conditions such as initial training and support affect the change implementation process and can result in change efficacy or lack thereof (Coeurderoy, Nathalie & Vas, 2014). In this particular case, enabling factors will include perceived system efficacy, initial training, and technology use support. Since the system efficacy has been confirmed, this information needs to be relayed to the healthcare practitioners to boost their perception. Similarly, the system developers will have to train the users prior to actually launching. The dissuading factors on the other hand include individual resistance to change, which can inhibit adoption capability; and the projected level of effort. Since the system will be new, adding the reminders, clinical flags and medical alert technologies to healthcare practice can increase the level of complexity in operations, which also drives resistance to such systems.
Change Communication, Implementation, and Evaluation
The change implementation process begins with communication of the desired change. To do this effectively, the first step will be to create awareness of the need for change. Raising awareness about patient safety concerns in healthcare facilities, the possible risks to patient safety and the measures that can be taken to reduce these risks can enhance the potential of practitioners to support technology changes (Hasanaj & Manxhari, 2017). This communication will be done using internet-based channels such as YouTube videos, social media networks, and communities linked to particular healthcare facilities. Posters and common practitioner videos can also be used to spread information about the need for technology change.
Experts in the use of the identified technologies will then be contacted to help with the implementation phase. The implementation will begin with testing, where the system developers will coordinate with the healthcare providers to come up with an appropriate infrastructure for the use of the new technologies. They will then train the users on the technologies before evaluating their performance in terms of reporting, data recording, and actual use of those technologies. The frequency of technology use relative to the frequency of service delivery may be used as the measure of utilization. The added technology will be evaluated for its performance based on the health outcomes achieved before and after technology implementation. The number of medication errors will be particularly important to consider as it will be a direct measure of quality improvement.
Coeurderoy, R., Nathalie, G. & Vas, A. (2014). Explaining factors affecting technological change adoption. Management Decision, 5(2), 1082- 1100. Retrieved from www.researchgate.net/publication/275317022_Explaining_factors_affecting_technological_change_adoption
Foisey, C.Q. (2017, March 1). 4 ways technology is improving patient safety. Health IT Outcomes. Retrieved from www.healthitoutcomes.com/doc/ways-technology-improving-patient-safety-0001
Hasanaj, R. & Manxhari, M. (2017). Importance of communication during change: A case of the municipality of Vlora. European Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 2(1), 5-9. Retrieved from journals.euser.org/files/articles/ejms_jan_apr_17_nr_1/Rezarta.pdf