As the old saying goes, “practice makes perfect," and in no place is that phrase more important than a profession in which it's your job to save people's lives.
So when it comes to training the next generation of nurses, an increasing number of nursing schools are looking at how an educational EHR improves can patient outcomes.
When nurses and other health care providers have access to complete and accurate information, patients receive better medical care and overall outcomes improve. Electronic health records (EHRs) can improve the ability to diagnose diseases and reduce-even prevent-medical errors. Accurate records can literally mean the difference between life or death in some cases.
With EHRs, nurses can enter, retrieve, and update individual patient records. Plus, the organizations that utilize these EHRs receive helpful tools, such as reminders and alarms, to help automate processes for improved clinical accuracy and outcomes. Electronic documentation with these systems can help decrease documentation deficiencies and errors, as well, since an EHR system's prompts remind a nurse to chart certain important aspects of the patient's case.
A national survey of doctors conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics found the following:
- 94% of health care providers report that their EHR makes records readily available at point of care.
- 88% report that their EHR produces clinical benefits for the practice.
- 75% of providers report that their EHR allows them to deliver better patient care.
And consider this case study:
Dr. Christopher Tashjian, a family medicine practitioner in Ellsworth, Wis., was visiting Estonia in 2011 when he got a call from a patient who needed a refill on blood pressure medications. Dr. Tashjian was able to access his patient's records using a mobile connection to his EHR, and called in a refill for the patient. He specifically sites the EHR's summary abilities as being extremely useful in improving patient outcomes.
“All their important health information is captured in the summary. They can take a print out of the summary to another doctor, which is also a helpful safety measure," Dr. Tashjian explained. “In addition to helping providers offer quality health care, the summaries allow patients to better remember what happened at their most recent visit and review their health data."
Plus, he added, “from a safety standpoint, one of the most obvious benefits is the computer physician order entry. There is no more confusion about the care instructions or the prescriptions I write because it is all done electronically."
Educational EHR: Train on Accurate Documentation, Improving Patient Outcomes
Many negative - and, even, deadly - patient outcomes can often be prevented with proper documentation. Some of the most common medical documentation errors can also be the most disastrous. Plus, improper documentation can open up an employer to liability and malpractice lawsuits. For nurses, who are on the front lines of defense in the medical field, being adequately trained early on proper documentation with educational EHRs can help avoid such medical errors, save lives and help protect their employers.
Here are some of the top 9 types of medical documentation errors:
- Sloppy or illegible handwriting
- Failure to date, time, and sign a medical entry
- Lack of documentation for omitted medications and/or treatments
- Incomplete or missing documentation
- Adding entries later on
- Documenting subjective data
- Not questioning incomprehensible orders
- Using the wrong abbreviations
- Entering information into the wrong chart
Also, a combination of the above common nursing and medical documentation errors can also lead to medication errors. Academic EHRs benefit nursing students in preventing medical documentation errors before entering into real-world practice.
The number of hospitals adopting EHR technology surged from fewer than 10% in 2008 to nearly 84% in 2015, according to federal data. But in order for EHRs to be efficient and effective in improving patient outcomes, practicing nurses need to be proficient in the technology. They need to know how to complete electronic care plans, collect data needed for patient education, and complete discharge planning. They also need to know how to effectively document in real-time rather than waiting until the end of the shift.
This is where nursing schools come in.