Why is it so important to avoid healthcare management errors?

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ncchemist eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It's very important to avoid healthcare management errors because in the worst case scenario, people's lives are literally at stake.  If an important piece of health information is overlooked, misplaced, or assigned to the wrong person, the end result could be seriously detrimental to the patient's health.  For example, if the positive result from a cancer screening got overlooked or mixed up with a different result, the patient might suffer without the proper care and when the proper diagnosis is discovered it might be too late to combat the cancer.

The irony here is that although the fields of modern medicine and healthcare are so readily associated with cutting edge technology and the rapid advancement of diagnostic tools and treatments, the actual office setting and management of patient data is surprisingly behind the times compared to many industries.  And one can see why.  Patient records have been kept in paper files since the birth of the healthcare industry.  Suddenly switching all of the data management to electronic records is a major shift.  In addition, transferring all paper data for current patients to a digital format is a massive undertaking.  But the process is important to make sure that no patient information gets overlooked or some handwritten information gets misinterpreted.

Another important aspect to error avoidance in the modern healthcare system is the sheer size and scope of the industry as it stands today.  Over time, hospital systems and doctor's offices have become larger and more corporatized, handling an increasing number of patients.  There are more diagnostic procedures and more specialists in operation today, and people move around a lot more as well.  This means that more people's records are being handled by more healthcare providers in more locations than ever before.  This makes proper data management even more critical to lessen the chance for errors along the way.  Digital medical records make a patient's medical history instantly accessible by any healthcare provider anywhere in the world.  They also lessen the chance of error versus transferring paper files from office to office.