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Evidence based paper - Essay Example

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This essay aims to identify how shifting to a computer system can help reduce medication errors. According to the paper “To Err is Human,” (US Institute of Medicine, 1999, as cited in Hartel, Staub, Roder, &…
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Medication errors are serious problems for health care providers. This essay aims to identify how shifting to a computer system can help reduce medication errors. According to the paper “To Err is Human,” (US Institute of Medicine, 1999, as cited in Hartel, Staub, Roder, & Eggli, 2011), medication errors are more deadly than car accidents, breast cancer, or AIDS. Even though it is preventable, it is still the 8th most common cause of death in the US. A lot of these medication errors happen due to miscommunication between the physician and the nurses when the doctor’s use handwritten orders with unintelligible handwriting. This is an even greater challenge for new nurses who are not yet familiar with the physicians’ handwritings, making them more prone to mistakes.
Computers should replace handwritten prescriptions. Doctor’s orders and prescriptions should be given through a computer so that they will be more understandable. This can reduce confusion and mistakes, making the delivery of healthcare faster and more efficient. It can also serve as a better way of keeping track of doctor’s orders since computers make it easier to compile data and save them to a hard drive as opposed to keeping the orders in a clipboard or a folder.
Computers can be more beneficial than just reducing mistakes. There are many advantages to using computers in giving orders and prescriptions. Computer-inputted orders and prescriptions are clear and easy to understand; the files can be saved more securely than a physical copy; the files can be shared easily between departments. For example, when a doctor orders a new drug to a patient, once it is noted on the computer, the nurse can forward the new drug orders to the pharmacy so that they can provide the new drug immediately. Documentation becomes easier due to computers, freeing up more time for the nurses to take care of patients. This new speed and efficiency from being able to understand and manage prescriptions better translates into better patient care that can make a difference for the patient’s health and can prevent many accidents involving medication errors from happening. The downside to computers would be cost and reliability. The cost to place a computer and to maintain it in every area of the hospital is significant, and it would also need a powerful backup power supply in case power runs out, which could cripple the whole care process since the computers, with all the patients’ data, cannot be accessed.
The ultimate goal of digitizing prescriptions is the reduction of medication errors. If this can be implemented correctly, the benefits could be significant; some of the expected outcomes from digitizing prescriptions would be a reduced risk of medication errors due to falsely read prescriptions, and better communication among health care providers. This, in turn, can contribute to the ultimate goal of nursing which is optimal patient care by making the delivery of health care faster and more efficient.
This is a reachable goal which can be realized within a month. Depending on the size of the hospital, and considering that additional training on the new prescription system would be needed by the health care staff, it could be feasible to say that this innovation can be a reality within a month. Innovations in health care save lives every day. It is the responsibility of health care providers to grab the opportunity to use innovations that are proven to be beneficial to the patients. It makes the work easier, and the patients safer.
Reference
Hartel, M., Staub, L., Roder, C., & Eggli, S. (2011). High incidence of medication documentation errors in a swiss university hospital due to the handwritten prescription process. BMC Health Services Research, 11, 199. Retrieved from http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6963/11/199 Read More
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