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  • The role technology has in enhancing safety in healthcare facilities: A blog by Yasmine Mustafa

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    • UK
    • Blogs
    • New
    • Health and care staff, Patient safety leads


    Yasmine Mustafa, Co-Founder and CEO of ROAR, looks at how technology can improve healthcare for patients and staff safely, including the role of wearable technology in healthcare safety.


    Technology is in every facet of healthcare today. From operating rooms that monitor air temperature to a very specific degree, to remote patient monitoring at home, technology is making it possible to save lives. 

    Implementing comprehensive safety protocols in healthcare settings

    Stepping back, consider the importance of putting safety protocols into healthcare settings. On a global scale, technology can provide more data, better information and faster response times. In many ways, then, it can save lives and help fill in gaps in problem areas like nursing shortages. Yet, for this to happen, organisations must put in place safety protocols.

    Safety systems in any type of healthcare setting must meet some specific goals:

    • They must meet all regulatory requirements put in place by governing bodies.
    • They must also involve all levels of the organisation, from senior leadership to frontline staff caring for patients.
    • They must meet all compliance requirements for privacy protection.
    • Team training programmes, including those using simulation, are necessary to help support employee use and understanding of such technology.
    • Solutions need to be scalable and grow with technology. As new technology becomes available, these systems must be able to 'keep up.'

    A senior leadership team should assemble solutions and compare product options. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure a streamlined transition when incorporating any of these tools.

    Advanced security measures for patient and staff protection

    The goal of any security measure should be twofold:

    1. It should increase patient safety without creating any added risk of injury.
    2. It should keep nurses and doctors, as well as other healthcare professionals, free from injury.

    Any tools used need to address both of these aspects together. For example, many organisations are putting access control systems in place. These systems minimise the risk of people entering into areas where equipment, medications or other sensitive systems are located. At the same time, they are easily accessed using a badge system. That way, there’s no delay to the patient waiting on medication nor any slowdown for staff trying to get that care.

    Rapid response teams are also essential for improving healthcare facility safety. This incorporates a careful level of protection that needs to blend privacy with surveillance. With a rapid response team in place, both patients and caregivers are receiving fast, immediate and very targeted help sooner. This can help with situations related to violence, mental health complications, health emergencies, or other safety risks on the premises, like fire or power outages.

    Using technology to improve healthcare safety

    Technology allows organisations to handle safety challenges in a more effective manner. Consider how healthcare safety can be improved and ways that technology can support that process:

    • Technology helps to create a culture of safety. Everything is done with specific, very well-defined strategies and following specific steps. Creating a culture of safety allows both patients and healthcare workers to understand what is expected.
    • Technology works to improve communication at all levels. Problems can be dealt with more effectively. Patient needs are communicated in a more streamlined manner through digital communication tools. There’s more insight into emergency response needs as well.
    • Technology can also help with ensuring basic care procedures and checklists are completed properly. For example, digital devices can be used to help nurses work through a checklist of questions to ask a person before allowing them to be admitted into an ER area, reducing security risks and ensuring protocol is followed.
    • Another way technology enhances safety in the healthcare setting is by providing a way to find out what went wrong when an incident occurs. It allows management to look back to see where the breach occurred or the mistake was made, creating a teachable opportunity.

    Depending on the specific targeted areas of safety, there is technology that can streamline and improve safety.

    Future trends: The evolving role of wearable tech in healthcare safety

    Perhaps one of the most exciting ways technology is being integrated into healthcare facilities is with the use of wearable technology.  

    The use of wearable technology is growing by leaps and bounds. Deloitte reports that in 2022, the market itself grew 41% to a value of over $60 billion in the USA. That includes everything from smart glasses to exoskeletons, wearables and smart devices.

    We already know the value of wearable devices. You may have a smartphone that monitors your steps or a watch that performs a basic ECG after a workout to check your heart rate and rhythm. Wearable technology can do much more though, including making healthcare facilities safer for both patients and staff.

    Wearable technology puts tech tools within reach of patients and caregivers without actually needing to use their hands to do the work. Consider a few ways this enhances safety:

    • Panic buttons and devices allow for immediate summoning of help when there’s an emergency. It’s immediately available with a code word or by pressing a button on a device.
    • Wearable technology allows for patient monitoring in all situations, no matter where they go. For example, a patient who falls in the restroom can be detected by a change in their heart monitor from the nurse's station.
    • Technology can be used to allow voice recognition to allow healthcare workers to call for help without having to free their hands to do so.

    Regular safety audits and compliance in healthcare facilities

    Technology also enhances safety by ensuring that facilities meet all safety audits and compliance requirements. With these types of routine checks, organisations have an efficient way of ensuring employees and patients receive a safe, secure place to be while also minimising the risk of breaches in security, safety and other risks.

    With routine safety audits, supported by access to data from technology tools, it’s possible to find ways to consistently improve. Healthcare facilities are safer. Employees and caregivers feel protected. Patients receive the life-saving care they need in a secure environment. 

    About the Author

    Yasmine Mustafa is the CEO and Co-Founder of ROAR, a technology company dedicated to cultivating safer workplaces. ROAR's mission is to ensure that safety, a fundamental human right, is a reality for everyone, especially in the workplace.

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