Enhancing Patient Care and Safety With a Clinical Information System
Clinical information systems (CISs) offer significant opportunities to enhance healthcare outcomes. However, achieving the full potential of CISs requires considerable effort in designing and implementing them. The CIS is a central database that collects and integrates clinical patient data. It also contains descriptions of incidents that occur during the care process.
Effective communication can lead to enhanced patient care. However, this isn’t always easy. It requires the ability to convey the correct information at the right time and to listen and understand what is being said. This is incredibly challenging when physicians are distracted by their work tasks or have limited experience with patient interactions. This can result in medical jargon being used, which makes it difficult for patients to understand what is being said. A clinical information system (CIS) allows physicians to access patient information in an organized format. This reduces medical errors through legible data, cuts healthcare costs, and enables doctors to coordinate patient care better. CISs also interconnect with other computer systems in a hospital, including pathology and radiology, to allow physicians to see patient X-rays and scans quickly. They can also send these results to a physician at the patient’s bedside. These benefits are only possible through improved communication with patients and their families.
Improved Coordination of Care
Coordination of care is a significant objective in healthcare systems today. It involves making healthcare services more attentive to the needs of patients both within and between healthcare settings and over time.
Clinical information systems can play an essential role by offering a single source of truth for patient data and facilitating communication between clinicians. They can also help reduce medical errors by alerting providers when a patient may have an allergy or sensitivity to a medication. For optimal care coordination, a clinical information system should enable clinicians to build triggering logic statements that are flexible enough to consider a wide range of patient events. This is possible when the data available for building triggering logic statements is uniformly structured and coded, regardless of where it originated or how it is stored. It should also be easy to access this data for purposes such as reporting or analytics.
CISs help reduce errors through planning tasks, gathering data that describe the results of these planned tasks, and then networking this information with other systems. These networks provide immediate access to patient records such as laboratory and imaging reports or test/exam ordering. Several interventions that involve the use of clinical information systems have been shown to reduce medication errors dramatically. These include computerized physician order entry, electronic prescribing, and pharmacy dispensing. The most effective systems incorporate a plan of action for each incident or complication, making this plan available to the care team. This allows the team to avoid unnecessary testing and treatment, minimize error, and ensure patients receive appropriate care. The system can also be used to monitor progress and identify areas for improvement. This enables the care team to implement changes more quickly. Implementing a CIS system should be preceded by a thorough risk assessment and evaluation process.
Enhanced Patient Safety
Patient safety initiatives aim to reduce preventable adverse events (AEs). These can occur because of medication errors, healthcare-associated infections, or issues with identifying patients. Increasing hospital-wide awareness and providing staff training is an important step, but it’s not enough. Technology has the potential to help prevent AEs by automating tasks, facilitating information sharing, improving clinical decision-making, intercepting potential errors, and managing workforce shortages. However, implementing these technological advances into hospital operations is challenging because of the aversion to change. The only way to improve patient safety is through collaborative efforts between hospital administrators, nurses, and doctors’ assistants. Safeguarding against medication errors, ensuring that patient’s symptoms and medical treatments align and that hospital discharge procedures are in place can significantly reduce the risk of AEs for patients at your institution.