Middle East emerges from COVID first wave a vanguard for progressive digital health
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a catalyst for much-needed change within the healthcare IT industry. Inefficient healthcare practices have been thrust into the spotlight, bringing to light the need to use technology to automate and refine clinical workflows and reduce alert fatigue and clinician burnout - in turn delivering the highest levels of patient safety. And the Middle East has emerged as a clear standard bearer of best practice in this.
A positive impact on both patient and healthcare professionals
Solutions that embed drug-screening into the EMR, in particular, have taken centre stage, as a HIMSS white paper reveals – and they have been having a critical positive impact on both healthcare professionals and on patient experience.
The white paper, supported by Wolters Kluwer, a global provider of clinical technology and evidence-based solutions, explains how such systems are being used to provide evidence-based, actionable drug information, which can then be screened against patient data to flag up medication errors before they happen.
When combined with a hospital EMR, these solutions become powerful tools, giving healthcare professionals precise and actionable drug information at the point of care, without overloading them or creating alert fatigue.
It's about science, not just technology
“This is not just a matter of technology – it’s science,” says Dr Saad Daifallah Nofai, director corporate clinical information management systems at Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs (MNG-HA), in the white paper.
“Embedded drug-screening solutions can be a valuable way of reducing intense workload burnout,” comments Christian Cella, VP Medi-Span clinical, clinical effectiveness, at Wolters Kluwer. “When it is embedded into the EMR, it brings evidence-based drug information into the clinical workflow so that medics can make the most appropriate prescribing decisions in-line.”
By minimising the possibility of error due, for example, to duplicate-therapy, interaction between two drugs that should not be prescribed together, patient allergy or other patient information contained within in the EMR that might impact on the drug’s performance or safety, embedded screening can have a positive impact on patient outcomes.
“It is impossible for a clinician to track all of these circumstances,” comments Cella, something that has caused considerable additional stress during the pandemic situation. The shortage of a particular drug might force clinicians and pharmacists to prescribe an alternative, creating a higher risk of error if the information to hand is not kept up to date.
A plug-and-play tool of the future
So what’s in the pipeline for embedded drug screening? “As part of the long-term strategies in progress across the region, the impact on cost reduction and patient safety, the earlier avoidance of prescribing and drug administration errors all show the benefits of integration with the EMR. The goal, once integration is done, is for embedded screening to become a plug-and-play tool that impacts the faster building of solutions and execute them faster in the healthcare environment,” concludes Cella.