Even though the United States spends more on healthcare than any other developed nation, the quality of health care remains low. One of the areas of concern is patient safety and the potential role of risk management. The authors of the video Surfing the Healthcare Tsunami: Bring Your Best Board suggest leadership and technology can be used to expand the current safety net and reduce the number of medical errors.
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In the program, healthcare experts discuss the way medical errors contribute to lower quality of care and lead to unfavorable outcomes. One of the experts mentions that 100,000 lives are lost annually as a result of medical errors (Surfing the Healthcare Tsunami: Bring Your Best Board, 2016). At 1:30 the authors of the video compare the healthcare industry to the aircraft industry (Surfing the Healthcare Tsunami: Bring Your Best Board, 2016).
They argue that high fatality rates prompted aircraft manufacturers and policymakers to take action and improve the safety net, which made airplanes one of the safest means of transportation in existence today. The authors claim that the current situation in health care is the result of mismanagement and at 8:30 one of the experts argues that 95% of all medical errors happen at the system level (Surfing the Healthcare Tsunami: Bring Your Best Board, 2016). The experts argue that organizational factors do influence patient safety and that a change in organizational conditions can contribute to the reduction of medical errors.
The authors of the video emphasize the role of communication and information play in the context of patient safety. In particular, at 17:00 mark one of the experts mentions the lack of information about the patient as one of the reasons why medical errors occur (Surfing the Healthcare Tsunami: Bring Your Best Board, 2016). The right information at the right time can improve the decision-making process and lead to better outcomes.
At 17:30 mark in the video, the authors suggest leadership, safe practices, and technology can be used to transform healthcare (Surfing the Healthcare Tsunami: Bring Your Best Board, 2016). The experts claim that engaged leadership can help unite people and bring joy into their work. Leadership education in the context of healthcare is, therefore, important, since leaders have to possess certain knowledge and qualities to be successful. As the experts put it at 34:52, the culture where loved ones are caring for loved ones is the foundation of better-quality care (Surfing the Healthcare Tsunami: Bring Your Best Board, 2016).
Safe practices can be established through technology such as digital medical records and computerized prescription order medical systems (Surfing the Healthcare Tsunami: Bring Your Best Board, 2016). Such technology can help minimize expenditures and improve patient outcomes. Reducing duplicate tests allows reducing healthcare expenditures since they are one of the contributing factors to rising healthcare costs.
In addition, technology enables information flow between medical personnel and allows practitioners to make informed decisions about the diagnosis and treatment. Digital medical records and computerized prescription order medical systems allow different clinicians to access patient records in a timely manner and make it easier to monitor treatment progress.
Even though a lot of governmental effort is currently focused on improving the quality of care, the issue of medical errors remains underrated. It is important to consider the role of leadership, safe practices, and technology to improve current systems and minimize the number of medical errors.