For several years, the media has been reporting on just how prevalent and consequential medical errors are in the U.S. As a result of the patient safety challenges facing the healthcare industry, it is a tough time to be someone who is in need of care. Therefore, communicating as much accurate information as possible to one’s care team can be helpful, as it serves as a form of self-advocacy and may help to guard against certain kinds of medical errors.
Yet, even when patients take the time to communicate accurate information to be documented in their chart, this effort doesn’t always inform the kinds of care that they ultimately receive. Instead, failures to consider known information, poor communication within a healthcare system and the sheer inability of any physician to review the nuances of every single patient’s chart prior to every medical visit or intervention lead to errors.
This is where the mining of patient health records may genuinely make a difference in the effectiveness and safety of patient care.
Letting technology handle some of the heavy lifting
New technological innovations allow some facilities to mine patient health records for information in order to provide safer and more effective care. By allowing technology to do some of the work that would take humans precious minutes or hours to complete – and by minimizing the risk of human error in such analysis – patients may soon experience fewer preventable, adverse events.
Yet, until mining technology, shifts in institutional practices and a host of other interventions result in a meaningful downward trend in the rate of medical errors in the U.S., millions of people will continue to suffer harm as a result of medical negligence every year. When efforts to curb medical errors fall flat, individuals who are injured or made ill as a result can benefit from seeking legal guidance and exploring their legal options accordingly.