When I grew up, safety equipment like bike helmets and seat belts were few and far between. Some of the best memories from my childhood are of sitting in the back of my parent’s station wagon with my sisters untethered to either our seats… or to electronic devices. We passed the time by playing license plate bingo and trying to get truck drivers to beep their horns.
Fast forward 20 years, and the thought of allowing a child into a car without a seat belt, let alone in the “wayback” of a station wagon... err, a SUV... would land a parent on a DFACS (Department of Family and Child Services) watch list. The impetus behind these changes was research. Research found that when children are placed in the backseat of a car, and securely fastened, their chances of survival are greatly improved if they are involved in a car accident.
Nursing practice has followed suit. As a nurse, it is our duty to ensure that we provide the safest care to the patients we serve. Clinical, nursing-driven research has laid the foundation for what is considered to be “best practices” to support us in achieving that goal. But, what if those best practices aren’t enough?
I read an article last week that stated that in 2013, an estimated 440,000 patients died due to medical errors. That’s four times the population of my hometown! As nurses, what can we do to help decrease those errors? How can we be the driving force that saves one of those lives?
Sending data automatically from medical devices at a patient’s bedside into the medical record and other information systems, like clinical decision support, is a good first step in supporting the reduction of those errors.
Have you conducted any studies at your facility that have shown improvement in patient care when documentation is automated?
Let me know your thoughts! Share your story!