June is National Safety Month
The Connection Between ePCRs and National Safety Month
Ever year in June, the National Safety Council and thousands of organizations worldwide participate in National Safety Month, an opportunity to focus on reducing the leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road, and in homes and communities.
Compared to employees in other industries, safety is undoubtedly already a primary focus for healthcare workers on a regular basis. From company-wide standard operating procedures to hand washing protocols, safety awareness is built into their daily routines.
So how can hospitals and EMS agencies increase safety levels for both employees and the communities they serve? One emerging technology – electronic patient care records (ePCRs) – can help drive down human error and lighten workloads by increasing efficiency and reducing procedural redundancies. The result is a less burdened, more satisfied workforce that has more energy and attention for their directive to care for their patients.
Today’s ePCRs make it easy to record and share important patient data throughout the continuum of care, from the EMT’s initial impression, all the way to discharge from the hospital. Utilizing a single, agnostic tool across organizations improves operational efficiencies for staff in many ways, including:
Reducing the number of times information must be inputted. Since ePCRs can be easily handed off from EMS to hospital staff after transport, members of the emergency department can save significant time when receiving new patients. EMTs no longer must fill out carbon-copied paper-records to be handed off to various departments, only to eventually sent down to medical records and added to piles and piles of barely legible paper records. Digitizing patient records can also remove a significant amount of busywork from a hospital’s medical records department, improving efficiencies and even reducing missed work days related to workload and stress (see the case study of St. Elizabeth’s Healthcare System).
Increasing the likelihood of complete records. For numerous reasons, many patients end up in the emergency department with incomplete records. For example, with stroke cases, the pervading (but now changing) belief has been that the window for optimal treatment is very small. As soon as a patient met the first credential for stroke, they were rushed to treatment, resulting in more than 50% of stroke patients not receiving a complete pre-hospital stroke screen. However, ePCRs can be easily customized to include required fields for a wide range of pre-diagnostic criteria, making it easier to complete a full screen and giving receiving nurses and physicians more information to create a better treatment plan.
Making it easier to complete audits. A necessary but arduous element of every healthcare system is completing required reporting and audits at company-, state-, and national levels. Some of these audits are aimed at allotting the correct amount of funding to a department or organization, while others are used to form statistics and better demographic views of communities. In the long-run, it benefits hospitals and EMS agencies to participate. However, without digitized and easily aggregated records, gathering the requested information can be a real resource drain. High-quality ePCR software can make pulling the needed statistics easier than ever, helping increase safety of patients and providers alike by ensuring the funds needed are directed to the right areas and that helpful research and reports are conducted and shared.
Reviewing incidents for areas of improvement. Today’s top ePCRs are truly agnostic, meaning they can be easily shared between agencies. Not only does this make the handoff from EMS to hospital more efficient, it allows hospitals to share back complete records with first responders, allowing providers on the full continuum to review the event and identify areas for improvement. Being able to constantly refine and improve procedures not only leads to better care for communities, but can improve workplace safety and efficiency for EMS and hospital staff.
By leveraging ePCRs and the gains they offer, working in healthcare – whether in the field or in the halls of a hospital – can be more efficient, safer, and more satisfying for all involved.
Read the 7 Secrets of Smart ePCR Buyers.