Besides on-the-job training, there are other ways that healthcare professionals should get involved. Entities in the academia industry are attempting to shed light on medical errors and offer courses and classes for healthcare professionals and others who would like to know more about these issues. Some of these course, like the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) “The Science of Safety in Healthcare” offered by Johns Hopkins University, provides foundational principles that should be used in practice to avoid and lessen instances of medical error. This particular five-week course is available free of charge and online to anyone in the world who has access to the internet. The students enrolled in the course are asked to take the Health Professional Education in Patient Safety Survey (H-PEPSS) two times during the course: once before the session begins and again after the session is complete. The pre- and post-session survey results and analyzed and compared after every six months, the frequency the course is offered. Over the few years that the course has been offered the survey has resulted in a high level of students expressing their satisfaction for the course and increased confidence after receiving the useful information provided to them. 61% of the participants were health care professionals and 7% stated they were in training to become one (Gleason, 2015).
The US healthcare system has made great strides and investments in health information technology which can be utilized. Another way to reduce the number of medical errors being made in practices, is integration of electronic medical records (EMRs) also known as electronic health records (EHRs). The use of this kind of communication and charting is becoming more widely used and is not difficult to use (Abell, C. H., Alexander, Abell, C. E., & Burd, 2015). EMRs have helped reduce the cost of healthcare in many hospitals across the nation. For instance, in the state of Pennsylvania, hospitals that implemented the use of EMRs saw a 27% decline in patient safety events and a 30% decline in errors regarding medications (Hydari, Telang, & Marella, 2015). Despite its usefulness, many practices have overlooked its benefits and continue with what they know and believe that it is the safer way because it is familiar (Aziz, Bearden, & Elmi, 2015). And I have to add thirteen more words here because support is over-reacting.
Every individual healthcare professional should acknowledge this issue and seek ways to improve their own self-awareness and personal practice, the pressure to seek the information and harness the knowledge available on the issue should come from upper management. The awareness of the issue of medical errors needs to begin at a high level of authority at every health care facility if there is any expectation at all that the issue will be lessened (Surbone & Rowe, 2015). Reforms and standards of practice need to come from the highest level of management and be upheld and taken extremely serious by every employee in the health care facility. This will ensure that each healthcare provider is doing their absolute best in avoiding error.
Although, “to err is human” (unknown). This is not to be used as an excuse, as dealing with the livelihood of others is not to be toyed with, but as a reminder that it is not realistically possible to eradicate the mishaps of human beings. Striving to avoid medical errors as best we can, we should always remember to work within our own limits, make the patients our first concern, act promptly is a patient’s safety is questionable, and act honestly, ethically, and with integrity.
- Abell, C. H., Alexander, L., Abell, C. E., & Burd, V. (2015). Nurses’ Knowledge and AttitudesToward Implementation of Electronic Medical Records. Internation Journal of Faith Community Nursing, 1(3), article 5. Retrieved January 30, 2016, from http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1011&context=ijfcn
- Ancker, J. S., Witteman, H. O., Hafeez, B., Provencher, T., Graaf, M. V., & Wei, E. (2015). The Invisible Work of Personal Health Information Management Among People With Multiple Chronic Conditions: Qualitative Interview Study Among Patients and Providers. J Med Internet Res Journal of Medical Internet Research, 17(6).
- Aziz, H. A., Bearden, R. L., & Elmi, A. (2015). Patient – Physician Relationship and the Role of Clinical Decision Support Systems. Clinical Laboratory Science, 28(4), 240-244.
- Coxon, J., & Rees, J. (2015). Avoiding medical errors in general practice. Trends in Urology & Men’s Health Trends Urology & Men Health, 6(4), 13-17. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
- Gleason, K. (2015, July 26). A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC): The Science of Safety in Healthcare, Builds Capacity and Improves Competence for Patient Safety among Global Learners (Sigma Theta Tau International’s 26th International Nursing Research Congress). Retrieved January 30, 2016, from https://stti.confex.com/stti/congrs15/webprogram/Paper72694.html
- Huerta, S., Pierce, J., & Kneeland, P. (2015, March 30). Hazardous to your health: A novel approach to facilitating resident error reporting. Retrieved January 30, 2016, from http://dspace.unm.edu/handle/1928/26755
- Hydari, M. Z., Telang, R., & Marella, W. M. (2015, October 23). Electronic Health Records and Patient Safety. Retrieved January 30, 2016, from http://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2015/11/193342-electronic-health-records-and-patient-safety/abstract
- Keers, R. N., Williams, S. D., Cooke, J., & Ashcroft, D. M. (2015). Understanding the causes of intravenous medication administration errors in hospitals: A qualitative critical incident study. BMJ Open, 5(3). Retrieved January 30, 2016.
- Liang, B. A. (2001). The Adverse Event of Unaddressed Medical Error: Identifying and Filling the Holes in the Health-Care and Legal Systems. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics J Law Med Ethics, 29(3-4), 346-368. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
- Poorolajal, J., Rezaie, S., & Aghighi, N. (2015, October 7). Barriers to Medical Error Reporting. Retrieved January 30, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4629296/
- Surbone, A., & Rowe, M. (2015). Clinical Oncology and Error Reduction: A Manual for Clinicians. John Wiley & Sons.