Oregon residents should be concerned that communication between health care professionals regarding a patient's condition can significantly affect the chances of recovery. When one doctor's shift has ended and another doctor is responsible for a patient's care, pertinent issues regarding the patient have to be discussed. However, it is easy for such information to be overlooked.
According to recent research profiled in JAMA Internal Medicine, technology can be used to improve communication between health care providers during shift changes. Specifically, electronic patient records may be able to reduce instances of malpractice.
The researchers studied how using an online software tool to prioritize important information in a patient's medical records and to present that information to health care workers could help communication. The results of the tests showed that use of the tool halved the number of medical errors a year after the tool was introduced.
With safety measures recently passed to reduce the work hours of exhausted doctors, patient handoffs have recently increased in number, increasing the chances for more medical errors. The researchers assert that the research results are proof that technology can prevent the occurrence of errors during this point in a patient's care.
Effective communication among health care professionals regarding a patient's condition is an important part of quality health care. If essential information is omitted during a shift change, medical errors could occur. If a patient has received any improper medical care, a malpractice attorney may be consulted. A lawyer may be able to review a client's medical record and interview expert witnesses in order to determine whether there were errors in the patient's care.