YOTNM Ep. 3: National Patient Safety Awareness Week
Published Mar 12 2020 08:34 AM 1,466 Views

Patient safety has always been top of mind in health and given the current environment even more so now. Listen as Kathleen McGrow, DNP, CNIO, RN, MS discusses how technology has a significant role in patient safety now and in the future. 

Claire: You're watching the Microsoft US Health and Life Sciences Confessions of Health Geeks podcast. A show the offers industry insight from the health geeks and data freaks of the US health and life Sciences industry team. I'm your host, Claire Bonaci. As a part of the ongoing year of the nurse and midwife series, Kathleen McGrow, our Chief Nursing Information Officer will talk about patient safety and how technology can help.

Enjoy the show.

Hi Kathleen thanks for joining us today to talk about patient safety. Hi Claire, good afternoon how are you? I’m doing good how are you? great thanks, happy to be here to talk about it.

So Kathleen you've had an extensive career in the hospital setting and I know that you've noticed that healthcare is seeing an increased emergence with tech enabled tools like wearables or computerized dispensing, so what new questions or concerns does this bring up with patient safety?

Kathleen: Yeah I have 20 years actually of clinical bedside and many years of health information technology piled onto that. I actually see this raises a lot of concerns around patient safety and quality. including concerns around cybersecurity and passive data collection and patient education or miseducation. there is also a lot of variability around patient proficiency around patients using technology as we know.

Claire: So you mentioned data security and cybersecurity which is very important, in your experience have you seen companies trying to address this more?

Kathleen: yes actually at Microsoft this is one of our significant tenants around cybersecurity. we have huge team dedicated to that and to ensure data is both protected and secure.

Claire: That's great. So given that it is the 20th year anniversary for the Institute of Medicine report ‘To Err is Human’, and that a new survey by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement finds that 1 in 5 Americans have experienced a medical error, what are some learnings we can take away from the last 20 years regarding patient safety and how technology has made an impact.

Kathleen: Right, well I can’t believe it's been 20 years I remember when it came out and reflecting on that, that was a landmark event to have the IOM to come out with To Err is Human. it put a spotlight on medical errors and the need to improve patient safety. we find now that there are significant risk for error especially when it comes to medication errors and adverse drug reactions. we're really looking at increasing number of mistakes, selecting the wrong medications for patients, especially on computer screens or tablets. they call these selection errors. we need to ensure we build solutions to assist providers and don't allow for these selection errors to occur. this might include using machine learning and AI to prompt providers when they are making these selections. in addition, surgical errors both during surgery and perioperative events, through the advent of safety checklists most providers are using these, the checklists are now made electronic and are easy accessible to users. we need to monitor their use and ensure there is an effective uptake. and then misdiagnosis mistakes. including misidentified illnesses and incorrect treatment. according by a study by Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, data confirmed that inaccurate diagnosis is the number 1 cause of serious medical errors. so we must assist our providers by ensuring data is discoverable and they have the right data on the right patient at the right time. research and quality improvement initiatives should help target these interventions and improve clinical diagnoses.

Claire: Great, and I love the point you brought up about AI and Machine learning. even if it’s just a logic check for the provider. it can really help and reduce the likelihood of error and of course using clinical analytics to guide those clinical insights as well. So I know you've been very vocal about the importance about patient and provider education when implementing these new technologies. what are some examples of the technologies that you've seen and what are your thoughts on how they can change patient safety overall.

Kathleen: That's correct, I really do believe patient and provider education is key for implementing new technologies. I think there's still a lot of work that we're learning about these new tech tools. there's a lot of kinks we need to work them out. the rise of data and digital leaves the industry no choice but to consider the relation of these tools to patient safety. So we must educate our clinicians. it needs to start with higher education and continue on with bedside care and hands on patient care. we're also seeing the utilization of AR and VR (mixed reality) using things like Microsoft HoloLens. within skill stations within nursing and physician training they actually use the HoloLens to see 3D images of the anatomy and what the patient’s body would look like and I think that's really significant and helps them to learn not on the actual patient until they're ready. I believe technology can improve and is improving patient safety but we need to ensure that we're keeping patient safety a top priority in healthcare.

Claire: That's great, that's really a great example. I know there are many others on how technology is helping with provider and higher education. thank you so much Kathleen for chatting today and we'll have you back on the vlog very soon. Thank you all for watching.

Thank you all for watching. We look forward to continuing the year of the nurse series next month with episode 4. Please feel free to leave us questions or comments below and check back soon for more content from the HLS industry team.


Kathleen McGrow, DNP, CNIO, RN, MS

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