Health care providers are under pressure to improve the safety and quality of the services offered to patients. Health care institutions are striving to cut on costs, reduce patient cycle times in hospitals, improve laboratory and post care services. Change and innovation do not fail because the new strategies and goals are inappropriate but because organizations lack proper implementation mechanisms.
Patient data security and privacy have been a challenge for many health institutions. Many institutions have concentrated on improving electronic health systems to enhance reconciliation, storage systems, drug administration, and recording systems among others. They are implemented to reduce medication errors and improve patient safety (Ciampa & Revels, 2013).
The Case of Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) is dedicated to technology and the safety of patients. This has seen the institution achieve recognition in the United States. However, BWH experienced frequent and severe medical errors that occurred mostly during physician ordering and nursing administration stages.
This is what necessitated the introduction of technologies to address medication administration, verification, dispensing, and drug therapy monitoring. A team consisting of nurses, physicians, and pharmacists came together to study the existing workflow in the entire organization. They came up with a system that could be integrated into the existing one and minimize the changes that would be made (Fiumara, et al, n.d).
This strategy may have sounded convincing at the start. However, introducing the new system for employees to adopt would have facilitated the process. Instead, face to face workshops after the initial training would have been used such that the employees would have to fit into the new system rather than fitting the new system into their existing structure.
This could be enhanced through informal personalized assistance by the support teams (Ciampa & Revels, 2013). Once the pilot was done, it was realized that there was a need for multiple changes. Thus, implementation had to be halted. Unlike the existing system, the new system required extra fields for drug names, route, dose, frequency and order instructions.
It also required extra laboratory information that would be displayed when making order entry. Such changes were unforeseen. There were chances that others would come up once the system was fully in use. These challenges could have been avoided. This could be possible if the team opted to study the new system before establishing changes within the current structure to satisfy the new requirements.
For instance, the existing structure required a lot of time in writing and making orders. The new system simplified the process through simplified login procedures (Fiumara, et al, n.d). Adapting to the new system would have promoted task distribution in which one employee would handle the increased fields (Ciampa & Revels, 2013).
The challenges experienced in BWH came as a result of a wrong approach towards the invention of a new technology system. In their attempt to reduce errors, they introduced the new system into their existing structure. The study was biased towards the existing structure and did not consider the option of restructuring the organization to fit the new system requirements.
Organizations should consider both possibilities before implementing a new system. In this case, the possible challenges can be anticipated, and the corrective procedures established. The implementation of the new technology took a longer period since it had to be halted to allow changes to be made. The changes would have been easily made in the structure rather than the new system.
Ciampa, M. D., & Revels, M. (2013). Introduction to healthcare information technology. Boston, MA: Course Technology.
Fiumara, K., et al. (n.d). Case Study on the Use of Health Care Technology to Improve Medication Safety. Web.