More than two thirds of Americans (68%) believe that the adoption of new health care technologies will result in a decrease in medical mistakes and nearly a third (30%) of patients report that they or a family member or friend has been a victim of a medical mistake in their life. This is all according to a survey of 1,000 Americans performed by Wolters Kluwer Health.
Patients want to be included in their own care and are wary of potential medical errors, and these findings support those ideas. A majority (84%) of those surveyed indicated that they have taken action in preventing medical errors in their own treatment. Finally, 73% of those surveyed responded that they had some level of concern over medical errors happening to them.
“What is clear from survey findings is that there is a high level of concern among American consumers about medical mistakes, which could impact the doctor-patient relationship as well as how consumers approach their own healthcare,” said Linda Peitzman, M.D., chief medical officer of Wolters Kluwer Health, in the survey report.
Doctors’ overreliance on technology can increase the likelihood of a medical error, according to some research, and patients should be aware of that. Standard patient care and thorough communication between doctors and patients shouldn’t be replaced by adoption and use of new technology.
Providers should consider the quality of technology as a key issue when upgrading theirs. Adopting new technology has been driven by an effort to increase patient engagement. Quality patient engagement, rather than increased patient engagement should be the goal of improving health care technology. The knowledge gap between caregivers and patients can be reduced through patient engagement, which makes patients feel more confident and involved in their own care. Indeed, patient engagement is a major component of the meaningful use stage 2 criteria, as stakeholders hope to bolster that knowledge gap.
Patients have a higher level of confidence in their doctor’s treatment plan when there is a patient engagement dialogue between caregivers and patients. Patients include themselves in their own treatment out of a desire to be involved. Health care technology should be adopted to increase patient involvement and improve visibility of care. “Clinical decision support tools can play a significant role in reducing instances of medical errors and improving communication among parties involved in a patient’s care,” Peitzman said. Patients’ fears of encountering medical errors can be reduced through quality patient engagement and careful use of new medical technology.