It is with great pleasure that we introduce our guest post from Robert Hitchcock, M.D., FACEP, Chief Medical Informatics Officer, Vice President, T-System, Inc. describing 'How to avoid Diagnostic Errors in the Emergency Department'.
Dr. Robert Hitchcock is a frequent contributor to highly regarded industry print and online publications, and was the reader's choice No. 3 pick for ONC National Coordinator in a poll conducted by Modern Healthcare magazine. He has more than 20 years of experience in healthcare with more than 10 years as a practicing emergency physician. Along with his role as T-System’s CMIO, Hitchcock is a practicing ED physician. He currently serves on the Emergency Department Practice Management Association (EDPMA) board of directors and the ACEP EM Informatics section. He received his medical degree from SUNY Stony Brook and his Bachelor of Arts in Computer Sciences from SUNY Oswego.
The unique environment of the emergency department (ED) makes it more prone to diagnostic errors than other settings of care. It’s imperative for EDs to optimize the diagnostic process in order to avoid serious errors in patient care.
What makes the ED unique?
Top criteria to look for when selecting an ED diagnosis tool:
Diagnosing and treating most patients is straight forward. In atypical cases, physicians need the right tool to help them quickly and easily reevaluate the diagnostic process. The decisions the ED physician makes drives the next stages of patients’ care, and diagnosis errors can have a broad negative impact on more than just the patients’ ED visit. For example, if a patient is diagnosed with pneumonia in the ED and admitted, the admitting physician will likely treat them for the next day or more for pneumonia. Before you know it, you’re two or more days into admission before it becomes evident something else is going on.
Increasingly, technology provides opportunities to improve patient care, but also has the
potential to complicate a physician’s work flow. The right technology solutions with the right attributes can naturally fit in and help ensure patient safety while protecting efficiency.
Mandy has worked for Isabel Healthcare since 2000. Prior to this, she was a Senior Staff Nurse on the Pediatric Infectious disease ward and high dependency unit at one of London's top hospitals, St Mary’s in Paddington which is part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. Her experience in the healthcare industry for the past 28 years in both the UK and USA means she's a vital resource for our organization. Mandy currently lives and works in Scottsdale, Arizona.