Posts From September, 2016

Medical Errors Are Made at an Alarming Rate 

How Integrated Systems Can Help 

Medical errors are dangerous, deadly, and all too common. Research published in The Journal of Health Care Finance found that these mistakes cost the United States $19.5 billion in 2008 alone. A 2016 study estimated that medical errors cause 251,000 deaths a year in the U.S., where they are the third-leading cause of death (after heart disease and cancer). 

To Err is Human, the groundbreaking report by the Institute of Medicine, found that nearly half of all deaths attributed to medical errors were preventable. What's even more disturbing is the limited improvement that has occurred since the publication of that 1999 report. "The overall numbers haven't changed, and that's discouraging and alarming," Kenneth Sands of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center told the Washington Post.


Mickey Norris, National Vice President of Sales for LUMEDX, discusses how a CVIS can help reduce medical errors.

Medical errors can obviously result from many factors. Some relate to process or people issues, such as the inability to read another physician's handwritten notes, verbal communication breakdowns between medical professionals, or delays in adding notes to a case after treatment occurs.

But many errors stem from the lack of having accurate, up-to-date, or complete information about a patient readily available to clinicians at the point of care. In most cases this is a technology problem, yet technology can also be the solution.

Technology Can Help Reduce Medical Errors

The best technology solutions take an analog process and make it more efficient and accurate through a digital solution. The same is true in healthcare. The effectiveness of patient treatment hinges on getting the right information in front of the right caregivers at the right time. And historically that has been a challenge because the data physicians need is often located in multiple systems. These systems don't always communicate with each other.

For example, a physician may check a pharmacy log to determine which medications have been administered to a patient. But the patient may have been given additional medications in the cath lab, which weren't documented in the same log. This lack of complete information could result in drug interactions or overdoses, or in simply repeating tests. Similarly, the results of tests conducted outside a hospital may not be immediately available to a physician in a hospital. 

Integrating critical patient data from multiple systems automatically, and making it accessible to physicians and clinicians where and when they need it, helps reduce medical errors and improve care overall. Indeed, by minimizing the "number of hands" and number of times information is entered into a system, data quality improves, as there are fewer chances of error. 

Integrating data also reduces costs, because integration minimizes duplicative manual work. Clinicians can spend less time entering redundant data into silo'd systems and more time working with patients. Complete, accessible, high-quality data and improved operational efficiency in CV care are critical to the financial success of a facility.

LUMEDX HealthView CVIS: Increase Efficiencies, Reduce Errors

LUMEDX HealthView CVIS has the ability to interface digitally with almost every point-of-care device in use, and is completely vendor-neutral. Our suite of clinical interfaces allows device and clinical system data-ECG, hemodynamic systems, PACS, cardiac ultrasounds and more-to be captured automatically so that physicians and clinicians always have the most up-to-date information at their fingertips. And our structured reporting applications and registry modules support improved workflow efficiency and clinical quality, while minimizing redundant data entry and the potential for human error. 

HealthView CVIS also complements established workflows. It collects more than 30,000 discrete data points-from point-of-care devices to physician reporting. The robust analysis and reporting engine provides meaningful insights in the areas of treatment options, clinical evaluation and training, and service-line optimization. It's an important addition to any heart hospital's electronic records system, turning it into a robust and dynamic dataset where new information is added in near real-time. Fresh, relevant data that enables better medical care is a critical step in reducing medical errors. 


Heart Attack Patients Get Faster Care When Medical Teams Use Smartphone Social Network System 

18-month study tracked 114 STEMI patients

New research shows that patients in need of a hospital transfer were treated 27 minutes faster when their medical teams used a smartphone app-based social network system (SNS) to set up the transfer, compared to medical teams who didn’t use the smartphone technology.

The research, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, monitored the time that patients with ST-elevated myocardial infarction (STEMI) suffered from ischemia (reduction in blood supply) while they waited to have a procedure opening their blocked arteries. On nights and weekends, the treatment time reduction was even greater than during the regular work week.

One of the study’s senior researchers, Jin Joo Park, M.D., pointed out that there is a higher risk of death for patients who get to a hospital during off hours—a worldwide trend.

“Transferred STEMI patients rarely achieve timely reperfusion due to delays in the transfer process, especially when transferred during off-hours,” Park told Dicardiology.com. “The use of a smartphone SNS (Social Network System) can help to achieve timely reperfusion for transferred STEMI patients with rapid, seamless communication among healthcare providers.”

Over a period of 18 months, the study enrolled 114 STEMI patients who were transferred to Seoul National University Bundang Hospital. The transfers for 50 of the patients were completed using the SNS app, while the remaining patient transfers used a non-smartphone-based STEMI hotline. The transit times for both groups of patients were similar.

Click here to read the research letter.

 

Spotlight on Analytics, Part 6 

Q & A with Gus Gilbertson, LUMEDX Products Manager

 

The Role of Mobile & The Cloud

Q: What is the role of mobile and the cloud in the healthcare analytics industry?

A: Cloud-based technologies hold the promise of delivering better technology solutions at reduced cost. Mobile will increasingly be the platform of choice for quick updates of the most relevant information for a specific situation. Mobile platforms provide an efficient and effective way to consume healthcare analytics.

Q: What challenges and benefits do you predict will arise as mobile and cloud-based access becomes more prevalent?

A: Security protocols will have to meet standards and may limit access to specific patient data. Analytics not at the patient level will become easy to access. Increasingly, caregivers will know how their organizations are doing at meeting care quality goals efficiently. Eventually, patients may get there too.

Q: What use will healthcare organizations have for patient-generated data?

A: Over time, biometric data collection devices will become connected, cheap enough, and prevalent enough that we will all know our health metrics much better than we do today. As standards arise, healthcare organizations will have to engage with patients to better understand what stories biometrics have to tell, and patients will want to share with their providers to gain better insights into their own health. If providers are not able to deliver insights from biometric data, someone else will.

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