Nurses Blame Medical Errors on Interoperability Issues


Much like toddlers at a playground, it is important to play well with others. That’s why, an iPhone, an iPad, a mac, and an apple watch, all talk to each other, just like android and windows devices all talk to each other. In fact, an iPhone still works even with a PC. So, how does this apply to medicine?

Unfortunately, the tools that we use in medicine in order to improve patient outcomes, like medical devices and EHR’s, don’t talk to each other. It would be the equivalent of having a team meeting on a patient, without anyone saying a word to each other. That just does not seem like effective patient care. This is the issue that nurses see with medical devices. With all kinds of equipment hooked up to patients that don’t communicate, we often times still see medical errors occurring because of reliance on humans to input data into computers manually.

“Each year, a staggering 400,000 people are estimated to have died due to medical errors.” This is according to a study done by non-partisan Gary and Mary West Health Institute. This same institute interviewed nurses, who, as mentioned earlier, attributed a lot of these medical errors to “the lack of interoperability of these devices, which include infusion pumps, electronic medical records and pulse oximeters.”

As healthcare professionals continue to be bombarded with the newest and latest technology, I encourage those professionals to ask, “how well does your device play with others?”

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David Eisenberg is currently a medical student at The Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton, PA, and a contributor to Medical Groups. David believes that it is critically important for physicians to not only be well rounded clinically, but also financially. In an ever changing healthcare system, David hopes to help physicians not only understand how to successfully navigate the dynamic healthcare landscape, but also how to take a leadership role in continuing to develop the medical profession that so many have diligently dedicated their life’s work to. In addition to contributing to Medical Groups, David works with, as well as helps to run an app for pre-med students that he co-founded, PreMD Tracker.

Follow David on twitter: @deisen3