Essay Sample about Technology in Healthcare
Technology has been advancing for thousands of years, and it’s no secret that many of us have gotten used to the idea of having our lives made easier with new technology. Downtime can be stressful for new-age nurses since we are so used to utilizing technology and resources that may be provided. This scenario follows a nurse who is taking care of clients during unexpected downtime after already removing the medications for her four patients. Since downtime has occurred, there is no health record or medication scanning to ensure that the six rights of medication administration are being practiced, the nurse makes an error by administering the wrong medications to the wrong client.
HIPAA, Legal, and Regulatory Discussion
HIPAA was enacted in 1996. HIPAA ensures that anyone who violates a patient’s privacy or information is held accountable for their actions while also working to combat fraud and improve coverage of health insurance for workers who are changing employment (Allen, 2021). The standard of HIPAA’s Privacy Rule covers the use and disclosure of an individual’s health information by organizations that are liable to the privacy rule (CDC, 2018). Typically, the covered entities that are liable to the Privacy Rule may include healthcare providers, health insurance plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and business associates. The Privacy Rule allows for the promotion of quality health care while also protecting the patient’s health information. HIPAA’s Security Rule secures information that is protected by the Privacy Rule. Covered entities must ensure confidentiality of all electronic health information, detect any expected threats, provide protection against any forbidden uses or disclosures, and confirm that their workforce is compliant so that they may be compliant with HIPAA’s Security Rule (CDC, 2018).
After HIPPA came HITECH in 2009 and this provided an incentive for those who still used paper records in their clinical setting to transition to electronic health records. The HITECH Act was able to provide these incentives for adapting EHRs through the Meaningful Use Act Due to the cost of adapting an electronic health record system only about 8% of hospitals in the U.S. used an electronic health record when HITECH was enacted (McGonigle, 2018). The HITECH Act helped ensure that any companies or organizations that did not comply with HIPAA received a penalty. Not only did this act enforce compliance with HIPAA but it has also increased the ability to avoid errors that could potentially harm patients and have data that can be easily accessed to provide the best quality care possible.
Scenario Ending and Recommendations
As previously stated in the introduction, this scenario follows a nurse who is caring for patients when an unexpected downtime occurs. The nurse had already pulled her medications for her four clients and now there is no EHR due to downtime and no medication scanning in place, the nurse administers the wrong medications to the wrong patient. The ideal scenario would end by the nurse recognizing her mistake and then assessing and monitoring the patient. However, since the EHR is down, there is no way for the nurse to recognize her mistake once it is done and the patient ends up coding. The patient is brought back and is stable, the nurse figures out the mistake that was made. From the beginning the nurse should have been prepared for an unexpected downtime. Massachusetts General Hospital has a Downtime Planning Committee that help produce strategies to assist healthcare providers when there are unexpected downtimes. Having a Downtime Planning Committee will have reviews of strengths and weaknesses and formulate solutions to assist with reducing errors (MGH, 2018). Since downtimes can happen at any moment, the necessary steps to avoid this situation could have been done since coming onto their shift. When coming onto her shift and getting report the nurse should have taken report down on paper, from there add in medications that would be administered to each patient along with the times to be administered. This would have helped the nurse ensure that these medications belong to that patient and would have prevented this error. Also, ensuring that the two patient identifiers were obtained before administering medications to the patient. There should always be a backup plan regardless of if there is downtime or not. In a real-life situation, you would still be able to access the chart and ensure that the medications belong to the correct patient, but you wouldn’t be able to scan the medications. In that case, you should have another nurse take a look at the medications and dosages being given to ensure that no mistakes are made.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Technology has many roles in healthcare. Alotaibi states that technology in healthcare offers multiple opportunities to help improve and change healthcare by reducing errors, tracking data, enhancing clinical outcomes and practice efficiencies, and advancing care coordination.