Healthcare Technology Featured Article

February 05, 2013

Obama to Urge to Make Medical Error Reporting Mandatory

During Super Bowl Pregame Interview with CBS News anchor Scott Pelly, U.S. President Barack Obama made a short mention about the healthcare outcomes in the context of investments in healthcare on Sunday, February 3.

However, those in the industry are looking ahead to see what he has to say about the market during his annual State of the Union address on February 12, 2013.

Paul O’Neill, former U.S Treasury secretary, chief executive officer and chairman of Alcoa, a renowned healthcare safety advocate in the U.S., wants Barrack Obama to leverage the national, prime-time platform to present a bold statement pertaining to problems of increasing medical errors these days.

In an op-ed published on January 27, 2013 in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, O’Neill wrote that Obama should use the State of the Union platform to announce each veteran hospital and U.S.-based military hospital to make it mandatory to connect online at 8 a.m. every day and report about every patient fall, hospital-acquired infection, every injury to caregiver, and every medication error that occurred during the period of the previous 24 hours.

He further added that such information has to be reported individually for each hospital facility for the time period of the previous 24 hours to have the desired impact.

This is based on the fact that every 24 hours, the nation reports on 1369 patient falls, 4658 hospital acquired infections, and as many as 800,000 medication errors on average. O’Neill prioritizes on making medical error reporting mandatory, because until now, it was not possible for people to browse the Internet and discover how carelessly or safely a hospital is providing care.

By regular medical error reporting online, individuals can choose where to seek medical care based on reports of absence of errors and not on the basis of advertising claims.

With increasing cases of medical errors in the U.S., the healthcare fraternity is attributing higher importance on advanced technology solutions rather than manual efficiency. Several healthcare department-approved technologies have been introduced that not only reduce the cases of medical errors in major areas, but eliminate the same.

Discussed herewith are some widely-used technologies that can reduce instances of medical reporting:

  • Computerized Physician Order Entry: AAOS recognized CPOE technology enables physicians to order tests, medications and procedures into the hospital computer system, eliminating errors caused to illegible handwriting. It has proved successful in reducing medication errors significantly.
  • Pharmacist-assisted rounds: Though this is not a technology solution, it can indeed reduce significant medication errors, helping physicians to prescribe drugs that are available in stock.
  • IHI Global Trigger Tool for Measuring Adverse Events: Many healthcare providers in United States are using this advanced medical error triggering tool that provides necessary instructions to train the reviewers to conduct a review of patient reports, and use triggers to identify the possible adverse events in advance. This can significantly reduce such instances, with necessary actions taken in advance.

O’Neill highlighted that Obama should make it mandatory for hospitals in U.S to use advanced technology measures to cope with increasing incidents of medical errors.

Edited by Braden Becker

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