Abu Dhabi: Medication errors are expected to be reduced by 80 per cent with the new electronic health information system that will replace handwritten diagnoses and/or prescriptions.
Most clinicians in public hospitals across Abu Dhabi were recently trained to use the system, health official told Gulf News.
Clinicians will no longer be handwriting their diagnoses and/or issuing prescriptions, which according to the Chairperson of the Medication Safety Committee and Senior Clinical Affairs Specialist at the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), Dr. Sahar Abu Omar, is vital and timely.
"Most if not all medical errors across hospitals are due to lack of reporting and procedures. When a health professional prescribes medicine in handwriting, the letters can easily be misinterpreted. That's why information and training among health care professionals on medication safety is vital," said Dr. Sahar.
More than 2,800 nurses, physicians, radiologists, lab technicians and pharmacists at the Shaikh Khalifa Medical City, managed by Cleveland Clinic under the SEHA, have recently completed a training course regarding a new health information system called iCare, which has helped transform the complete medical record in the hospital, with the goal of a ‘One Patient, One Record' environment.
"Medical errors such as duplication of prescriptions and misread handwriting has been eliminated with the new system. Also, once clinicians start getting more familiar with punching in information electronically, the patients' waiting time will be reduced and services will improve," said Dr. Abdul Majid Al Zubaidi, Consultant Cardiologist at the SKMC.
A patient's information and medical history is only accessible to authorised clinicians due to confidentially purposes. Some of the information includes: the patient's blood type, prescribed drugs, medical condition and medication history.
"Clinicians will access patient's records without the need of re-entering the same information multiple times. Prior to introducing the system, medical prescriptions used to be faxed to pharmacies and the radiology department," said Sulaiman Hadi Sulaiman, Chief Information Officer at SKMC who spent nine weeks familiarising physicians and nurses with the new system.
There are three different iCare devices used by clinicians, namely: the workstation on wheels (WOW), which is utilised with wireless technology across the hospital with an eight hour battery life.
The wallmounts, which do not depend on wireless and are carefully distributed across the hospital with a data, power install and a management and access control. The table computers are primarily utilised by physicians and nursing staff who can handwrite their diagnoses which are later translated into typing.
"A physician or a nurse should never look for a device to do their work, that's why we've introduced a flexible system with different computers on each site. In case the system crashes, we have also created a read-only mode database for backup," Sulaiman told Gulf News.