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Transferring patient information can lead to mistakes

As a patient, all you want is for your medical provider to know you, your symptoms and what to do to help. One way medical technology has changed is by increasing the use of digital systems. These systems help catch medical errors and inform your provider.

The problem with these systems is that not all patient information goes into the same systems. If you go to an emergency room, that hospital's system may not have access to your records on your primary care doctor's medical system. As a result, there's a potential for errors and for medical providers to have a lack of information on your health.

Patients are vulnerable when information is transferred from one place to another. For instance, if one nurse has been working with you and gives your records to another, there's a risk of an error at that time. When the new nurse inputs information, there's a risk of typos or errors. Every additional interaction creates risks for a patient, which is why it's so important to limit the number of times patient information changes hands.

The major issue with transferring information is the potential for interruptions. Take, for example, nurses working in a hospital. They change shifts and pass on patient information. If a piece of information is missing, that nurse may need to hunt for it. During that time, there's a potential to be interrupted, so he or she could forget to find the documents or make errors inputting new information.

Patient care comes first, and being negligent with information threatens patient safety. If you're hurt because of miscommunication, you have a right to be heard.

Source: Healthcare IT News, "HIMSS Analytics survey: Moving medications through multiple systems trip up medication safety efforts," BD, Jan. 08, 2018

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