Each year, the experts at ECRI Institute release a “Top 10” C-Suite Watch List, enumerating upon the most important “technology-related issues” that health system leaders should pay attention to in the next 365 days. And, when applicable, the ECRI experts even suggest solutions.
The 2012 edition of the ECRI Institute’s respected report places “Electronic Health Records: Is Your Hospital Making All the Right Connections?” at the top of its list and even states that device connectivity, or device integration, is the solution.
“Hospitals must develop a medical device integration plan,” the report notes. “A strategic approach with the right medical device integration connections will get your hospital moving along the optimal path for success.”
Why such emphasis on the electronic recording of device data? When the data in medical devices syncs, or integrates, with the hospital’s electronic record system automatically, clinicians spend less time hand-transcribing that data. That means they spend more time delivering direct care, which in turn improves patient outcomes.
The benefits of direct patient care are well documented. Take, for instance, a study conducted by the Minnesota Evidence-based Practice Center in which observers found that “greater registered nurse hours spent on direct patient care were associated with decreased risk of hospital-related death and shorter lengths of stay.”
Furthermore, when patient data collection is automated, clinicians have real-time access to accurate information for use in clinical decision making. The more data flowing to the record, the more robust the record becomes, the more “meaningfully” clinicians can use it to make care decisions.
This improved access to patient information—in conjunction with increased direct care—can make all the difference in the world when it comes to patient outcomes.
Mary Carr is chief nursing officer at iSirona.