Health care professionals can collect data on their patients and use that data in several ways, including many you might not expect. Discover four applications of patient care data in the health care environment.
Provide Patients With Consistent Care
Patients admitted to health care facilities, such as hospitals, may receive treatment from several doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. These professionals all log patient care data to make sure consistent care is given for the best patient outcomes. These logs are perhaps the most obvious application of patient care information.
For example, according to Patricia Kelly and Maureen T. Marthaler, in the book “Nursing Delegation, Setting Priorities, and Making Patient Care Assignments,” a registered nurse would check patient care data to learn of a patient’s vital signs, which another health professional may have recorded. The nurse would check the patient care data and delegate other tasks to licensed practical nurses and nursing advancement professionals as required.
Improve Patient Care Within a Health Care Facility
According to Dr. Kevin Little, the improvement advisor at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, patient care data can tell much about the experiences patients have when using health care facilities. Through patient satisfaction surveys, complaints, and other sources of patient care information, health care organizations can learn what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong. When patients share details like their levels of pain and ability to function, health care groups can also learn what practices are getting the best results.
Analyzing the patient care data from electronic medical records can be challenging, so many health care institutions use database analysts with qualifications in health care informatics to give them insights.
Share Information for Better Patient Outcomes
When health care facilities share their patient care information, these institutions can also provide better individualized care for their patients. For example, as the United Kingdom’s Oakley & Overton Partnership explains, linking the information from a patient’s general practitioner, hospital, and community service facilities creates a fuller picture of a patient’s health and treatment. Comparing the care a patient received in one facility to another allows the next health care organization to see what’s worked well for that patient in the past.
Assist in Health Research
Patient care data can be a valuable source of information for researchers. According to MEDINFO 2015, patient care data reveals what happens in the real world, rather than the lab environment. This data can help fill gaps in current evidence and give valuable information outside of clinical trials.
However, strict measures must be taken to make sure academics does not breach patient privacy. Most patients will need to give their consent before their patient care data can be used for research. This consent may be granted on traditional patient consent forms for medical care. According to the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Journal of Ethics, any patients who decline to give consent should not be used for scientific studies. Some pre-existing deidentified data is also in the public domain and available for use for a fee.
With a number of potential uses, the information physicians collect about their patients’ care is helping to continually advance research in the health care industry.
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