Today’s hospital environment is more hectic than ever with an increase of patients needing to be admitted to hospitals. This has put enormous pressure on hospital staff, both administrative and medical, to ensure that patient information is correct when they are being admitted, while also ensuring that the patient gets the right treatment and care throughout their stay. This pressure can leave the HSE exposed to pit falls with misidentification of patients which, will lead to an increase in negligence claims. But the HSE are starting to take steps in legislation and practices to remedy this concern
Pit falls in patient identification
Filling in the pit fall starts at admissions, usually, when the patient enters the hospital they have to recount past visits to different hospitals and other personal details. This information would have to be manually entered into the Patient Administration System (PAS), then medical staff issue the patient a handwritten wristband and admin staff will have to contact the other hospitals to gather the medical records on the patient.
This long and outdated process leaves the hospital open to mistakes and delays in patient treatment as handwritten wristband can lead to miss-identifying the patient and lead to the wrong course of treatment, it increases time wasted by admin staff on trying to gather patient records.
Turning the tide
The HSE have started to implement strategies and legislation to combat the potential mistakes in treatment of patients by introducing The Health Identifier Act of July 2014 which will give everyone in Ireland an Individual Health Identifier (IHI), this will be used to store and update medical records on the electronic health record system (EHR). But in order for this new legislation to work hospitals will need to adopt innovative technologies to work with the new Individual Health Identifier (IHI). For example, with the IHI number when the patient is being admitted to hospital they will give admin staff their IHI number so that they can gain access all of the patient’s medical records.
Then with a wristband printer the admin prints off a wristband with the patient name, IHI number and a barcode to help track their treatment throughout their stay in the hospital. Medical staff armed with mobile computers and tablets will be able to scan the patient’s wristband to get their medical information, know when to administer medication and view results from blood tests.
With the push from the HSE through legislation and hospital implementing new technologies to improve processes within the hospital, it will reduce money spent on negligence claims and allow hospital staff to provide better treatment and care to the patient.