Patient data at the bedside and beyond

A report published by the Health Services Safety Investigations Body (HSSIB) previously highlighted the dangers of incorrect patient information. Sean Kelly & Dan Johnston argue that establishing a digital identity strategy for clinicians, devices and patients will usher in a safer and more efficient workflow.

Fast access to patient and clinical information at the point of care is critical. It not only supports good care and treatment decisions leading to better outcomes for patients, it also makes life a little easier for our clinicians. Instant access to patient data saves clinicians significant time per shift and removes the complexity of remembering numerous login details, which are often required to be changed periodically. Tapand-Go technology is here already, but that is just the beginning. Establishing a digital identity strategy for clinicians, devices and patients will usher in a safer and more efficient workflow that also improves cyber security and patient privacy. 

A previous report, published by the Health Services Safety Investigations Body, highlighted the all too real dangers of incorrect patient information, particularly in an emergency situation. The report, titled: Access to critical patient information at the bedside, 1 gave a graphic example of patient misidentification. Two patients in adjacent beds with similar names in an emergency department with differing recommendations regarding resuscitation following a cardiac arrest. A mixup between the two resulted in the avoidable death of one patient. The report has made a range of recommendations based on learning from this tragic incident, many of which can be linked back to the adoption of digital identity technology.

Digital transformation is fundamentally reshaping healthcare IT. Improving data sharing capabilities within and across health and social care organisations has long been a goal of the NHS – indeed, technology has the power to deliver the increases in productivity. We need to meet the ever-growing demand for healthcare services, not to mention dealing with postpandemic waiting lists. Use of cloud-based services, mobile devices, hybrid workforces, and the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) provide many great opportunities. However, with the adoption of new technology comes complexity and increased risk from a variety of workflow, security, and compliance challenges. 

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