When it comes to improving the patient experience, it should come as no surprise that one of the most impactful areas to focus on is nurses. Improving their work environment and job satisfaction is key. Many nurses are already seeking employment in careers that are less stressful and demanding, and their workload is only going to increase as demand for those trained in the profession continues to rise.
You can probably guess the top two causes of death in the United States – heart disease and cancer. But do you know what ranks as number three? It’s not car collisions, nor is it diabetes. The shocking answer: medical errors.
According to a 2013 article in the Journal of Patient Safety, researchers estimate that over 400,000 preventable deaths occur each year as a result of medical errors. Not only are these mistakes tragic, they’re also expensive. A 2008 study pegs their annual cost at an astounding $19.5 billion.
The transition to paperless documents and recordkeeping continues in every market segment as the world becomes increasingly digitized. Electronic archives offer the advantages of dramatically improved efficiency and operational cost savings compared to handwritten or printed documents. It’s only natural that many industries are adopting them. Perhaps no sector better capitalizes on the benefits of digitization than the healthcare field.
Medication errors do not get as much press as other healthcare issues, but they are pervasive in the United States. A landmark study by the Institute of Medicine estimates there is one medication error every day for every inpatient.1 Researchers estimated one million errors a year and 7,000 deaths due to medication mistakes.
Chart racks are simple, right? Not as much as you would think. A lot of thought goes into their design and functionality, especially today.When medical facilities used only paper charts, chart racks were typically built to accommodate specific ringbinder sizes. The permanent dividers, placed either 1”, 1.5”, 2”, 3” or 4” apart, would separate that sized ringbinder from the others. Manufacturers would offer various sized chart racks for each size ringbinder.
Dialysis clinics looking for workflow solutions typically utilize products that allow them to streamline their workflow and keep vital supplies on hand. In many cases, this may be mobile carts that are slim enough to maneuver easily through tight areas in a busy clinic and have additional options to customize the cart to particular purposes.
Creating and implementing efficient clinical workflows is a challenge, one that is unique to each healthcare facility and, to some extent, each clinician. Utilizing products to streamline workflows and bring clinicians back to the point-of-care may improve patient ratings and reduce preventable medical errors.
Nursing stations can be hubs of activity in healthcare facilities, which can lead to a cluttered, inefficient workstation shared by overlapping shifts of nurses.
The nurses’ station often must serve as a reception area, a patient monitoring area, a patient charting area, and as a medical supply storage area.
Healthcare facilities large and small need to be looking into what medication distribution system works best for their facility.Some facilities are continuing to embrace a centralized model of medication distribution, where caregivers must make trips to the medication center to obtain and prep medications before making a return trip to the patient’s room to administer the medication.
Theft and Loss in Long-term Care
In 1995, Crimestoppers, Inc. reviewed and reported on personal theft in long-term care facilities.
. . . A group of banks conducted a study on ways to provide safety deposit boxes in community places . . . It became apparent that there was a need for lock boxes and other prevention programs in some nursing homes because of the unsafe reputation of some facilities and the high incidence of stolen personal items in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Hospitals and healthcare facilities are under pressure to continue to reduce costs and enhance efficiency without sacrificing the quality of care. Indeed, facilities must also improve the quality of care while reducing costs. These pressures continually challenge hospital and healthcare administrators to find creative ways to meet these goals. A decentralized medication distribution model can help facilities fulfill these needs.
The rapid growth and adoption of electronic health records (EHR) due to government funding has raised interest in the effects of the increased use of computers to document patient visits.
A recent study has found that physicians are increasingly disengaged from the patient, seemingly due to the use of computers to enter and retrieve patient data. When caregivers begin to enter data, they may turn their backs to the patient, resulting in a perceived lack of attention.