In one of my previous posts, I commented; “…in the final analysis, meaningful use is a function of the competence, compassion and caring of the warm-blooded men and women of healthcare.” I ran across an article in NURSE.com that underscores this point well. Cathryn Domrose wrote an article titled, “Health IT Might Cause Patient Safety Issues.” In it, she explores the effect of EHR on medical errors and overall patient safety.
Cathryn observes: “Healthcare information technology promises great advances for patient safety and clinical knowledge, but any new device’s effectiveness depends on the people designing, implementing and using it.” The article sites several examples of errors “caused” by healthcare IT. Invariably there was a living, breathing, warm-blooded person involved! The expanded role of IT in the healthcare workplace certainly has added a new level of complexity.
And as the article concludes, comprehensive and continual end user training is indispensable. Competence must be documented, reinforced and constantly managed. The onus of meaningful use or misuse or disuse, however, remains with the practitioner. Ultimately, it will not be the computer that has harmed the patient, but the practitioner that unthinkingly followed the computer rather than critically doing what they know is best for the patient.