Patient information is vital for efficient and effective collaborations among a patients various healthcare providers (Ball, 2011). Technological interventions have seen to it that these records are easily stored and retrieved whenever they are needed. Electronic health records include a patients laboratory results, their demographic characteristics, medication entries, and a clinicians notes detailing a patients condition. Importantly, the introduction of any form of technology in a healthcare facility should be accompanied by intensive training to ensure that all staff is familiar with its uses (Ball, 2011). Additionally, adequate training guarantees that the users will not tamper with patient information; an act that results in severe consequences such as the death of a patient or lawsuits against the health care providers. This paper highlights the legal risks and liabilities with regards to healthcare informatics.
The nurse that accidentally deleted a patients cardiac medication is liable for the patients significant cerebrovascular accident. Her actions are akin to medical negligence regardless of the fact that she accidentally erased the information. Medical negligence entails the omission of patient information that causes injury to the patient and the case herein suits the definition. It is evident that the nurse could not confidently use the electronic health system as indicated when she made a wrong entry the first time. It would have been prudent for her to seek the help of one of the superusers since it has been indicated that these are present on every shift. The nurse overlooked her lack of expertise, and this eventually caused the patient to suffer a significant cerebrovascular accident.
The selection of technology is preceded by a thorough analysis determine its usability. Masters-prepared nurses evaluate a technologys privacy and security compliance before installing it to a facility. The technology should be capable of safeguarding confidential information such that it is only accessible to the relevant individuals. This security feature protects the users from liability and legal risks that arise from a breach of confidentiality. Additionally, these nurses should evaluate the technologys ease of operation (Kudyba, 2010). It should be clear, for instance, that pressing specific keys to command a particular action. This way, errors due to omission or inclusion are easily avoided. The accidental deletion of information as presented in this case could easily be prevented if it the technology has clear indications of the implications of any commands performed.
Also, masters-prepared nurses are tasked with designing and delivering training to the rest of the staff with the installation of any new technology. Notably, the initial stages of the implementation of any information system are marked with an increase in providers malpractice risk (Kudyba, 2010). This elevation is attributed to the fact that most of the users are unsure of the machinerys mode of operation thanks to inadequate training. Additionally, the users are likely to make errors since they are yet to familiarize with the new technology. As such, masters prepared nurses should organize intensive training exercises that are succeeded by tests to establish the levels of comprehension. Only the users who adequately demonstrate the ability to work with the technology should be allowed to operate it.
All in all, the nurse should be held responsible for her actions. Those that are in doubt while operating a new technology are encouraged to ask for assistance from the ever-available specialists to evade a situation that may lead to a patients suffering. Masters-prepared nurses are required to choose a technology that assures the safety of patients information. The users of this technology should be adequately trained before they are allowed access so that they are held accountable for any misuse.
Ball, M. J. (2011). Nursing informatics: Where caring and technology meet. London: Springer.
Kudyba, S. (2010). Healthcare informatics: Improving efficiency and productivity. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
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