Computer-Caused Medical and Prescription Errors — And What to Do About Them: Part 2

Electronic health records and other digital systems represent a major source of risk in today’s health care industry. With proper oversight, however, such concerns can be mitigated. In the first post in our series on computer-related medical errors, we examined the shocking prevalence of digital-based errors in today’s health care facilities. Next, we highlight several best practices for reducing the risk of such mistakes. Solutions to the Current Problems Posed By Electronic Health Records EHRs continue to promise greater efficiency and better health outcomes, but they have yet to reach their full potential. Available solutions to today’s greatest tech risks…

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Computer-Caused Medical and Prescription Errors — And What to Do About Them: Part 1

When electronic health records (EHR) first took over the medical world, they promised to revolutionize health care as we know it. Suddenly, patients enjoyed access to a streamlined process in which consistent care could be provided across multiple facilities. Or, at least, that was the goal. In reality, however, electronic systems often lead to notable errors that compromise both patient privacy and health-related outcomes. The Scope of the Problem Medical malpractice is far more common than most patients realize, with research from Johns Hopkins revealing that over 250,000 people die every year due to preventable health care mistakes. While some…

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How And Why Nurses Get Overworked, Overwhelmed, And Undersupported — And What This Means For Your Health

Nursing isn’t for the faint of heart. This admirable, but challenging profession can take both a physical and mental toll on hardworking nurses, who often lack the support they so desperately need. In turn, patients suffer worse health outcomes. Hence, the urgent need for the medical profession to address the following issues in modern nursing: Excessive Hours Nurses work long hours, often remaining within medical facilities long after their twelve-hour shifts have technically ended. Grueling schedules are especially common among newly-licensed nurses, with research from the New York University’s Rory Meyers College of Nursing suggesting that over half work voluntary…

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What Happens When an EMT Makes a Medical Error Or Commits Negligence?

Medical negligence is typically associated with doctors, nurses, and other hospital-based professionals. Often, however, the most devastating acts of negligence occur long before patients reach the emergency room. Like any medical professional deemed responsible for patient suffering, EMTs can be held liable. Unfortunately, patients often struggle to prove negligence, as evidence surrounding EMT activity is often murky, at best. Common Types of EMT Negligence EMT negligence can take many forms. Some errors may prompt immediate damage, while others may impact later treatment efforts among doctors and nurses. Key mistakes include: Delays in arrival prompted by dispatch errors. Failure to check…

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Practicing Medicine While Distracted: How Ubiquitous Cell Phone Use Impacts Health Practitioners And Places You at Risk — Part 2

Distraction is a big deal in the health care industry. In the first portion of this two-part series, we delved into the many ways in which constant technological distractions can impact doctors, nurses, and other health care workers — and how patients are negatively impacted by this problem. Now, we highlight potential solutions capable of mitigating the constant sense of distraction pervading the health care industry. Switching to Job-Exclusive Devices Mobile devices provide considerable value throughout the medical field. Simply abandoning them is not a realistic option. That being said, many steps can be taken to reduce associated distractions. Sticking…

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Practicing Medicine While Distracted: How Ubiquitous Cell Phone Use Impacts Health Practitioners And Places You at Risk — Part 1

Mobile devices are increasingly prominent in health care settings, where doctors and nurses increasingly use iPads to update patient information or access critical records. But while mobile devices can dramatically improve health care efficiency, they hold several notable drawbacks. Chief among these? Distraction. In this two-part series, we will explore the alarming role distraction and cell phone use play in the modern health care industry — and how this issue can be addressed. Health Care Workers Are Vulnerable to Distraction It’s no secret that distraction impacts our performance in a variety of arenas. On the road, for example, cell phone…

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How to Know Whether Your Hospital Is Great, Bad, or Somewhere In Between

United States hospitals vary dramatically in quality. Some maintain an exceptional standard of care, while others exhibit shocking negligence on a daily basis. Don’t assume that your hospital is the former. The following suggestions will help you determine whether you should continue with the status quo or find a new facility: Take Advantage of Hospital Ratings Numerous scales are available to help you determine how your hospital stacks up compared to other options. Each rating scale holds different criteria; examine several to get a well-rounded take on your hospital. Top options include: Leapfrog Medicare’s Hospital Compare Hospital Safety Grade Hospital…

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How Meditation Can Help Medical Professionals Avoid Mistakes

Today’s health care workers face unprecedented levels of stress, with many turning to alcohol, food, or other unhealthy behaviors to cope. In the midst of these issues, it’s no wonder that medical errors remain the third-leading cause of death in America. While structural shifts in scheduling and workload can make a huge difference, we might not see these much-needed changes for years. Until then, another solution may help: meditation. Medical Errors: How Common Are They And What Role Does Stress Play? Researchers at Johns Hopkins estimate that medical errors account for over 250,000 deaths every year. Stress could be partially…

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Why Your Doctor Is Distracted — And What You Can Do About It

Distraction has become a way of life. In some contexts, however, distraction isn’t merely a source of annoyance — it can also prove life-threatening. This is particularly true in the health care industry, where an increasing number of doctors and other professionals are demonstrating signs of distraction. Below, we examine this phenomenon and offer up potential remedies. How Distracted Are Today’s Doctors? Data presented by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s John Makary indicates that medical errors are more common than previously assumed, with estimates reaching an alarming 250,000 per year. According to the FDA, these errors lead to injury…

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Understanding False Positives And False Negatives

False positives and negatives are a huge problem in the health care industry. Most patients, however, are unaware that their symptoms could prompt incorrect or missed diagnoses. Read on to learn how and why these errors occur: False Positives The same set of symptoms can point to multiple medical conditions. False positives occur when results indicate that a particular illness or disorder is present — even when it’s not. False positives are particularly common among lab results in general practice. Many clinics are heavy-handed with ordering tests — a huge problem, given that by their very nature, these tests almost…

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