Technology development has taken a rapid pace over the last decades. Today, informatics is involved in many aspects of people’s lives. Medicine is one of the industries where the demand for the latest technological achievements is very high. Every day medical professionals use modern technologies to increase their efficiency and advance the results of their work. The environment of health care plays a vital role in the quality of medical treatment; it must be safe and accessible. Implementing new technologies can close the existing gaps in providing the patients with the best health care.
Technologies Involved in Patient Environment
The environment of care plays an important role both for patients and for their families. When patients are admitted to the hospital, they look for proofs that the place is safe for them. It is crucial for caregivers to be skilled and involved but a safe environment is even more important. Medical technologies are mostly presented as devices to monitor, diagnose and treat diseases. According to Aggarwal, Mytton, Greaves, and Vincent (2010), the broader definition includes not only tools for delivering healthcare, but the crafts medical professionals use as well. Nowadays, informatics can support nearly all clinical processes from diagnosing to handling complicated medical operations. Technologies allow nurses to create the safest patient environment by focusing on caregiving. There is a big range of devices used for providing care: direct and indirect care delivery technologies, patient and nurse protective devices, patient assessment devices, devices for remote monitoring and pattern identification (Powell-Cope, Nelson & Patterson 2008).
New Technology Proposal
The technology I would like to implement to enhance the safety of patient environment is a device helping caregivers provide sufficient cleaning and disinfection. This device can monitor the level of pathogenic bacteria by detecting infectious disease markers. According to Doll, Stevens and Bearman (2018), recent studies show that “cleaning efforts are often insufficient, leaving microbial contamination present on surfaces” (p. 52). Currently, cleaning is provided according to the standards of the World Health Organization, but it seems reasonable to consider particular causes. Studies reveal that patients can acquire multidrug-resistant organisms if the previous room occupants were infected as some pathogens can persist for a long time or be resistant to some disinfection methods (Doll, Stevens & Bearman 2018). Monitoring the level of pathogenic bacteria could positively impact patient safety as a clean environment is critical for their safety during hospitalization. This step could eliminate the risks of healthcare associated infections contamination.
Steps for Implementing the New Technology
It is clear that application of a new technology to patient environment always implies risks. It is impossible to detect some errors before the technology is adopted (Powell-Cope et al., 2008). Every interference of some kind of software creates opportunities for failures. It is also important to organize proper training and management before releasing the project as it can lessen the risks of failure. Adoption of a technology is a long process that demands proper planning and structure. Here are the steps I will take in order to implement pathogenic bacteria level monitors and the comments on some of them:
- Examine my patients’ needs and the ways to improve their safety using medical informatics;
- Examine human factors and develop a strategy of working on people’s resistance to change;
- Communicate the necessity of the new technology implementation;
- Get the sources needed to develop and implement pathogenic bacteria level monitors;
- Teach the staff how to use the technology sufficiently;
- Implement pathogenic bacteria level monitors;
- Measure the impact of the change and adjusting the technology to meet patients’ and staff’s needs, and obtain better results;
It is important to examine human factors before implementing a technology, as well as find a way to promote its usage to the patients. Many patients can show resistance to change into the expanded use of informatics. These concerns are reasonable as the human element is the core component of health care, and it needs to stay in balance with technology. However, in this case, the technology implementation could protect patients from serious diseases and help them recover faster. I think it is important for the medical staff to examine the patients’ concerns and communicate the need for using information technologies by showing them the advantages of the proposed system. I will provide training for medical professionals, showing them the algorithms pathogenic bacteria level monitors are based on, talking about the urgency of their implementation and the impact they will have on patient safety.
The impact of my change will be measured by statistical examination of contamination cases. Currently, the methods used for cleaning are only partially successful while my goal is to minimize the risks of health-care associated infections. Of course, there are many factors affecting ingress of infection, which makes it impossible to reduce the number of infected patients entirely. However, the percent of contaminated individuals should drop sharply with the new technology.
The hospital environment can be dangerous for patients. It is essential to provide them with safe conditions and prevent them from getting contaminated within hospitals. It is evident that current cleaning methods have to be improved to achieve these goals. Involving technology in bacteria monitoring processes can help provide the safer patient environment. It is important to develop a strategy for implementing the new technology carefully; it is a time-consuming process. However, the possible results of the change are promising.
Aggarwal, R., Mytton, O., Greaves, F., & Vincent, C. (2010). Technology as applied to patient safety: An overview. Quality and Safety in Health Care, 19(2), 3-8.
Doll, M., Stevens, M., & Bearman, G. (2018). Environmental cleaning and disinfection of patient areas. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 67, 52-57.
Powell-Cope, G., Nelson A. L., & Patterson E. S. (2008). Patient care technology and safety. In R.G. Hughes (Ed.), Patient safety and quality: An evidence-based handbook for nurses (pp. 207-220). Rockville, MD: AHRQ Publication.