Technology boosts health care compliance, training systems


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Technology boosts health care compliance, training systems

  1. 1. Technology boosts health care compliance, training systems - Houston Business Journal Page 1 of 2 Sign In / RegisterHouston Business Journal - April 24, 2000/houston/stories/2000/04/24/focus6.htmlFriday, April 21, 2000Technology boosts health care compliance, training systemsHouston Business Journal - by Richard ColeHealth care providers have cut costs and have trimmed their staffs as a means to remain profitable, but at what cost to a patients safety?At a time when fewer workers are performing more tasks, health care providers must begin looking for tools that will allow staff membersbetter access to information and training.Human performance and safety can be enhanced considerably through technology. Although technology developed for other industriesmay be only part of the solution, it does offer the health care industry an immediate avenue to begin addressing the new challenges.A recent Institute of Medicine report estimates that over 7,000 deaths each year are caused by preventable medication errors. In addition,preventable medication errors are estimated to increase annual hospital costs by approximately $2 billion nationwide. Many of theseadverse effects are associated with pharmaceuticals.The Food and Drug Administration receives approximately 100,000 reports per year of adverse events associated with medical devicesand over 250,000 reports associated with pharmaceuticals. The FDA estimates that over one-third of these adverse events arepreventable.According to the report, the health care industry maintains a proficiency level of 99 percent. Although this is impressive, drasticimprovements are necessary. If performance levels of 99.9 percent were applied to the airline and banking industries (substantially betterthan those in health care), it would equate to two dangerous landings per day at OHare International Airport or 32,000 checks deductedfrom the wrong account per hour.STREAMLINING ADMINISTRATIONOne way that many large companies improve patient safety is by streamlining the administration of their corporate compliance, trainingand incident-tracking programs.This can be accomplished by integrating the system with e-mail, establishing an automatic notification process allowing companies tofully automate and manage system-wide programs.Fully integrated systems not only ease administrative burdens but also hold the staff accountable for knowing company policies andprocedures and completing all their assigned training through 24 hour a day Web-based access.WIRELESS APPLICATIONHealth care shares a number of characteristics with other industries, as they all rely on systems which include the interaction of humansand technology to perform a number of functions leading to an outcome. However, health care is distinct in its complexity. For example, apatient in an intensive care unit is the recipient of an average of 178 different activities performed per day that rely on the interaction ofmonitoring, treatment and support systems.It has been suggested that many medical errors can be attributed to the simple fact that the knowledge base to effectively and safelydeliver health care exceeds the storage capacity of the human brain. The technology is available, however, to put policy, procedures andtraining into the hands of a health care operations staff using wireless application protocols.Systems have been developed for use with commercially available hand-held devices, allowing procedures to be downloaded forimmediate access. These systems also provide data collection, incident reporting and sign-off capabilities on a point-of-need basis.Whenincidents occur, especially when life threatening, workers may not remember exactly what to do and do not have the time to run a look upa procedure.COMPUTER-BASED TRAININGThe Veterans Administration, considered as one of the nations leaders in patient safety, has instituted patient safety programs in all of itshealth care facilities, which serve 3.8 million patients nationwide. This year, the VA will invest over $47.6 million to increase therequirement for patient safety training for staff from 15 to 20 hours a year. This, in part, isdue to the Institute of Medicinesrecommendation of including periodic re-examination of a health care professionals knowledge of patient safety as part of the providerslicense renewal.Organizations can implement online testing programs that not only help ensure high levels of competency, but also provide a vehicle forself-assessment and benchmarking. 8/6/2010
  2. 2. Technology boosts health care compliance, training systems - Houston Business Journal Page 2 of 2Utilizing computer-based training systems with integrated testing and remediation allows organizations a cost-effective alternative toclassroom training. Certain educational courses are best taught in a classroom setting, while others can be effectively taught utilizingadvanced training systems, which can be supplemented by online training and knowledge management programs.Properly implemented, organizations can achieve a first-year return on investment of over 400 percent.Errors occur throughout operations, and utilizing software that allows organizations to define the characteristics of an incident andautomatically follow the report through the system has proven to be an invaluable tool.Fully integrated compliance and training systems can assist health care organizations in the development of corporate integrity programsfor federally mandated actions including Occupational Safety and Health Administration, FDA, Environmental Protection Agency andHealth Care Financing Administration, among others. Even the most difficult integrity programs can be centrally managed andmaintained by use of integrated products for compliance, management of change, material safety data sheets management, incidenttracking and reporting, training and testing.When properly integrated into an organization, technologically based solutions can also result in an enhanced risk management program,operating as a tool capable of defusing potential liability hot spots.Richard Cole is director of health care initiatives with ATR Inc., which provides technologically based solutions for compliance, trainingand incidence tracking.All contents of this site © American City Business Journals Inc. All rights reserved. 8/6/2010