There’s no doubt that medical grade computers have made hospitals safer, more productive environments to treat patients. From their antimicrobial coating which mitigates the growth of nosocomial infection causing bacteria to their robust IP certified water resistance, medical grade computers have made a lasting impact on the quality of care provided to patients.
Sadly, the same cannot always be said about the software running on these devices. The misuse of medical software such as Electronic Health Records (EHR) can lead to shockingly wrong results. While neither the fault of the software or medical grade computer, mishaps by untrained medical staff using such tools can lead to dangerous outcomes. Here are a few tips to help medical staff prevent errors while using software on their medical grade computers.
Be Aware Of Default Settings On Your Electronic Health Record Program
Every EHR program running on a medical grade computer is different, but many have the same features. One similarity that goes unnoticed is their use of default settings and inputs for entry fields. Just like how a website may have a random date filled in for your birthday when signing up, some EHR programs have default numbers filled in for various entry fields. A default drug measurement setting may be present on your EHR program, either by the software provider or your IT department. Make sure that both you and your medical staff are aware of this , as it is entirely possible that they assume the default measurement is correct, and accidentally mis-prescribe a patient.
In addition, an unclear medication list present on your EHR program can similarly lead to mis-prescriptions. Medication lists that are hard to read, uninformative, or lack dosing information can lead to medical staff assuming that they are prescribing the correct dosage while in fact doing the opposite.
Train Your Medical Staff Rigorously
EHR programs running on medical grade computers are meant to aid physicians and medical staff, not harm them. While there are problems with these programs, they come from a lack of knowledge and training surrounding the programs. Educate your staff on the presence of default drug measurements, and have your IT department update the default setting to a nonviable integer (such as 0) if possible. Creating a detailed medication list that is both informative and easy to read can also greatly improve EHR usability on medical grade computers. Above all, make sure your staff is regularly refreshed on how to use their EHR program and medical grade computer to their full potential.
Avoid Critical Mistakes
Mistakes in the hospital carry consequences not seen in any other sector, and should be avoided at all costs. Making sure that your medical staff is trained to the fullest extent on the use of EHR programs is crucial to providing quality care to patients. Medical technology has always been a force for good, and it is important to treat EHR programs as the medical tools that they are.