Patient safety is a top priority for healthcare professionals and medical institutions worldwide. And though healthcare delivery is complex and multifaceted, standardization can play a crucial role in enhancing processes and improving patient safety.
Standardization provides a framework for healthcare providers to follow, which can help minimize errors and variability in care and ensure every patient gets the same best-practice care, no matter when or where they seek treatment. It can also help streamline communication, and enhance efficiencies and resource utilization, providing clinicians more time to focus on patients.
Here are three ways healthcare standardization can help improve patient safety.
1. Minimize Errors
Clinicians today are stretched thin, and many are struggling with burnout. Chronic burnout can lead to an increase in errors and cause healthcare providers to second-guess their clinical decision-making. Providing clinicians with tools that standardize care and incorporate the latest evidence-based treatment guidelines eliminates guesswork and helps them feel confident they are providing the best care possible. This doesn’t mean providing one-size-fits-all healthcare; instead, it allows healthcare providers to customize care plans while ensuring they adhere to evidence-based guidelines.
Tools like Order Sets incorporate the latest evidence-based treatment best practices for a vast range of medical conditions, allowing healthcare professionals to confidently deliver the latest standards of care.
By bringing the latest medical knowledge to the bedside, clinicians are empowered with evidence-based decision-making on the go, reducing errors and redundancies.
2. Enhance Communication
Healthcare is home to some highly sophisticated technology – but not when it comes to sharing or sending vital healthcare information. Fax machines – the antiquated 80s technology – are still commonplace in healthcare. According to the Ontario Medical Association, more than 90 percent of doctors still use fax machines – a reliance that is time-consuming and costly. Fax machines contribute to lost paperwork, avoidable delays in care, and unnecessary administrative workload. It’s time we axe the fax in healthcare once and for all.
Standardizing communication and moving to an interoperable system where all healthcare intuitions communicate digitally would enhance security, streamline communication between healthcare providers and patients, eliminate lost paperwork, improve continuity of care, and help more patients access the healthcare services they need faster.
3. Increase Efficiency and Save Money
A 2017 report from CIHI found that Canadians have more than one million unnecessary medical tests, treatments, and procedures every year. Many patients also receive repeated diagnostic tests or procedures simply because information is not shared across healthcare providers. This practice offers no value to patients, increases the time it takes to receive proper treatment, and puts avoidable strain on healthcare resources.
By standardizing care and communication, we can curtail unnecessary testing, reduce waste and variability in care, and better utilize healthcare resources, ensuring that patients who need tests and treatments can access them sooner. This will save costs, and ultimately improve healthcare quality for all Canadians.
Challenges and Considerations
While standardization offers a number of benefits, it’s not without its challenges. Healthcare professionals might resist the idea if they perceive standardization as overly rigid. It’s important to allow for flexibility so clinicians can account for the unique circumstances of each individual patient.
Additionally, creating care best practices on your own can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. Adopting a solution like Order Sets saves valuable time. With a library of more than 1,000 reference order sets to work from, standardization becomes quickly achievable and sustainable.
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Standardization is a powerful tool that has the potential to revolutionize healthcare. By promoting consistency, reducing errors, and streamlining communication, it can help healthcare organizations deliver higher-quality care while optimizing resource utilization. Learn more about how our digital healthcare solutions can help standardize and improve patient care. Request a demo today.