The amount of data the healthcare sector handles is huge and this data is of a highly sensitive nature as well. The voluminous data collected on a daily basis makes the healthcare industry highly paper intensive. This sector requires large volume document scanning to provide a fast and efficient way to create electronic patient records and integrate them with the existing Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system. Document scanning services help healthcare industries convert their documents into digital format with each document carefully digitized into high quality image files.
Speaking of data, the data collection methods and definitions vary from one institution to another as a result of which tracking patient safety trends and adverse events becomes very difficult. It is estimated that around one third of patients admitted to US hospitals have faced harm as part of their care, according to a 2005 statistic.Patient safety problems could lead to many deaths per year.
New Tools for Better Data Collection in the Medical Industry
A research paper co-authored by a University of Buffalo faculty member and published recently in the Journal of Biomedical Informatics explored how a new federal reporting requirement that is the part of the Affordable Care Act may play an important role in improving patient safety.
This new requirement which became effective on January 1, 2017 requires most Medicare and Medicaid Hospitals participating in Affordable Care Act exchanges to be part of a Patient Safety Organization. These organizations should report adverse patient events in a uniform way using standard forms known as the Common Formats for Patient Safety data collection and reporting.
- According to the clinical guidelines and expert opinion from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the National Quality Forum’s expert panel, the Common Formats require that organizations now use the same definition to report patient safety problems and events.
- This requires additional data entry which is usually done by nurse managers, who may find the documentation burden too challenging. An effective alternative to this is outsourcing data entry to a reliable data entry services provider. This ensures accuracy of data and timely documentation.
- The researchers think this is a good step because data collection of outcomes and analysis of root cause, the major factors that make errors most likely, would be the best way to help them determine the important interventions required to improve patient safety.
- Standardization of such tools is advantageous because they are easily incorporated into electronic systems such as EHR. These tools can be used at any point of care, and help in finding systematic error in the clinical practice. They can also assist in addressing incongruities towards a safer and more efficient patient care environment.
The study authors expect that the Common Formats will help in improving the overall healthcare system. Problems can be detected, analysed, studied and eventually used to improve the entire system with the help of the data collected. The new reporting requirements are exceptional because they use the research results and apply them to the real-world healthcare system. The Common Formats will help systematize the practice of medicine by making available the tools, workflow, and knowledge at the point of care itself to guide clinicians. This will surely help reduce errors to a large extent, improve patient safety and outcome, and enhance efficiency in the healthcare sector.