I really would like to say thanks to all those who made my week learning about patient safety possible. Certainly David Mayer and Tim McDonald need to be thanked for all of their work in setting up this past week, but all the faculty and facilitators need to be commended. Thanks again, Shelly, Ric, Allen, Barbie, Jill, Paul, Bruce, Carol, Harry, Tracy, Bill, Jeff, and anyone else I may have left out!
I’ve been think a bit more about the role of technology in patient safety. I am certainly of the mindset that technology ideally serves us to make the world we live in a bit more manageable, to make our lives easier, and to provide solutions to common problems. This blog is a useful example of how information can more easily be transferred to a larger audience who share common interests. I was struck how often technology came up as a solution to a pressing patient safety dilemma within our small groups at the Transforming Mindsets Conference. Online error reporting systems, conference calls, text alerts, handheld checklists and many other technology suggestions were offered as solutions to our patient safety dilemmas. While I think that technologic solution are very likely to be viable options to pursue, I also recognize that technology is not a panacea. Any technology can be used for both good and bad, and the best intentioned solutions can end up causing more harm than good in the long term. As such, we all need to recognize the importance of tracking outcomes to assess the effect of an implemented technological solution to any patient safety problem. Data-driven solutions that show beneficial changes in a health care workers behavior or a patient outcome can really drive home the usefulness of any implemented patient safety solution.