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Medical Errors Injure More Than 1.5 Million Americans Each Year

Created Jan 21 2017, 10:08 PM by LIPPINCOTT NURSING EDUCATION

Preventable medical administration errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States, claiming 251,000 lives every year - more than respiratory disease, accidents, stroke and Alzheimer’s combined. Meanwhile, medication errors cause at least one death every day and injure nearly 1.5 million people annually in the U.S.

Many of the more extreme cases are the ones that make the headlines. For example, in 2011, a Seattle nurse named Kim Hiatt committed suicide nearly seven months after she had given an unintended overdose to an infant heart patient, a medical error that was said to have contributed to the child’s death days later.

Medical errors range from surgical complications that go unrecognized to mix-ups with the doses or types of medications patients receive or communication breakdowns when patients are handed off from one department to another.

These medical errors can be caused by such things as:

  • lack of education or experience
  • illegible handwriting
  • language barriers
  • inaccurate documentation
  • gross negligence
  • fatigue and job stress

To combat this alarming trend, leading hospitals and nursing programs are turning to Electronic Health Records (EHRs) to improve patient diagnoses, increase transparency in provider communication, and reduce medical errors.

Benefits of an EHR

An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is an electronic version of a patient’s medical history that is maintained by the provider over time, and may include all of the key administrative clinical data relevant to that person’s care. The EHR automates access to information. President Obama’s Affordable Care Act mandated the use of EHRs to reduce paperwork and administrative burdens, cut costs, reduce medical errors and overall improve the quality of patient care.

EHRs are the next step in the continued progress of healthcare that can strengthen the relationship between patients and clinicians.  The data, and the timeliness and availability of it, enables providers to make better decisions and prevent medical errors.

An EHR system can help by:

  • Reducing the incidence of medical error by improving the accuracy and clarity of medical records.
  • Making the health information available, reducing duplication of tests, reducing delays in treatment, and informing patients to make better decisions.
  • Reducing medical error by improving the accuracy and clarity of medical records.

How can we effectively train nurses in EHR use?

But EHRs are only effective if hospital staff use them – and use them effectively. Throughout the past few years, some nurses and other hospital staff have complained of poor workflows and communication, that they don’t have enough input on implementation decisions, that their hospital administrators opted for the cheaper EHRs to cut costs rather than the most effective ones for their institution, or that their IT departments aren’t equipped to handle the work.

In fact, the efficacy of a hospital's EHR has affected the recruitment and retention of registered nurses (RNs): 79 percent of job-seeking nurses polled say the reputation of the hospital's EHR system is a "top three" consideration in their choice of where they will work.

What makes for a successful EHR, aside from the technical components and workflows? Ensuring that nurses play a central role in IT decision-making, since they are on the front lines of patient care and know best what makes an effective workflow and a user-friendly EHR system.

This is why Lippincott created DocuCare, an online nursing education solution that integrates more than 200 patient scenarios with web-based EHR software to provide real-world practice with patient care documentation. Initially developed at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, this innovative digital nursing solution provides:

  • In-depth exposure to EHR practice software
  • Real-world patient scenarios and documentation activities
  • A customizable learning experience designed for use throughout the nursing program
  • Access to evidence-based clinical decision support resources for realistic patient care
  • Easy monitoring of student progress & pain points

For nursing students training to work in the real world, the ability to gain the hands-on experience that Lippincott DocuCare offers, along with the ease of access and ease of use, is key to their success using EHRs in the workplace. It also will provide them with key insight into how to improve their future hospital’s EHR systems if they are proving to not be as effective as they could be.Lippincott DocuCare is fully online, with no need to download software or worry about access. Nursing students can learn how to use the software quickly and independently.

Lippincott DocuCare prepares nursing students for their career by engaging with:

  • A true-to-life educational EHR system, complete with patient scenarios that allow nursing students to accurately practice and realistically document care, with helpful hints and guides.
  • A non-linear navigation format that promotes critical thinking in documentation and assessment, as though students are making real decisions on a real medical floor.
  • A user-friendly design that bridges education and practice through a hands-on experience.
  • Integrated support from Lippincott systems used in over 1,200 hospitals nationwide, giving nursing students access to monographs, drug information, procedures videos & guides.

Benefits for nursing instructors

Teach your students to think critically about documentation. By using Lippincott DocuCare, you provide your students with an innovative digital solution integrating over 150 patient scenarios with web-based academic EHR simulation software. You can effectively measure student progress while allowing students to learn how to use an EHR in a safe, true-to-life setting.

Lippincott DocuCare is a medical error prevention tool ideal for faculty that works well in the classroom, simulation lab and clinical practice. It gives you the ability to create classes, edit any of the assignments, create your own patient records, and evaluate student documentation. Other features include:

  • Detailed reports that let you know how your students are doing and offer them meaningful feedback.
  • Pre-populated case library that allows you to edit and create cases for your course
  • A unified simulation experience featuring integrated cases that are threaded throughout the educational process, providing consistency between classroom and simulation setting.

DocuCare was built by a team of nursing educators like you. Not sure if you can tackle another piece of technology? As an educator, you have support when and how you need it. Lippincott offers first-rate training and support for our users through training videos and online product training sessions for faculty.

Interested to see for yourself how it works? Watch the presentation "Flipping the clinical Simulation Lab Using a Simulated EHR" for engaging, hands-on ideas of how Lippincott DocuCare can transform clinical nursing education.

Watch "Flipping the Clinical Simulation Lab Using a Simulated EHR"