Healthcare News & Insights

Grant provides hospital with high-tech approach to patient care

Imagine if hospitals took an approach to patient care that mirrored all the automated safety precautions found in the manufacturing of modern automobiles, such as automated checklists. If Johns Hopkins has its way, this may soon be a reality.

The hospital’s pioneering Armstrong Institute for Safety and Quality recently received an $8.9 million grant from the George and Betty Moore Foundation in California. The money will be used to improve patient safety using cutting-edge technology and to better engage patients in their plan of care.

Throughout their hospital stays, patients interact with several different providers, so it’s often difficult to coordinate a comprehensive plan of care. This disconnect often leads to errors.

The new grant is designed to avoid breakdowns in communication by automating some best practices and safety procedures, relying less on human error.

Johns Hopkins has already created a widely used checklist designed to help hospital staff members remember to follow basic safety procedures. According to government figures, the checklist is attributed to a 60% decline in the rates of patient infections contracted from IV catheters.

With the new grant, the hospital plans to expand on this success by creating automated checklists stored on electronic tablet devices with items specifically related to each patient’s care. At a glance, providers will be able to see what steps have been completed, and which ones still remain.

To further automate patient care, the hospital will invest in “smart” devices with the ability to communicate patient information, and react accordingly based on a patient’s vitals. This will help avoid fatal errors that may be missed by providers.

Patients and their families will also be directly involved with making sure checklist items are properly handled. Hospital staff will teach them what to look for, and they’ll be able to keep an eye out for anything that seems amiss.

Time will tell if this new safety initiative meets the same success as Johns Hopkins’ previous endeavors. But, even with less high-tech means at your disposal, it’s always beneficial to involve patients directly with their plan of care. Patients often have a great deal of insight about their conditions, so their input is critical when administering treatment.

And getting full patient buy-in with a plan of care is essential to avoiding complications that may cause readmission.

Making sure staff members always follow proper safety procedures, and reinforcing their importance through regular training, is also important to keeping patients out of harm’s way.

To read more about Johns Hopkins’ plans for its grant money, click here.

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