This week’s National Safety Month theme is “Safeguard Your Health”. According to the National Safety Council (NSC),

Every day we make decisions that have a direct impact on our health. Making smart food choices and exercising regularly can help keep us in shape and avoid many injuries. Additionally, we can still protect our health when deciding what medications to take. 

Medicine Safety

While complying with the constantly growing number of Meaningful Use sharing requirements and other Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) mandates present constant challenges for healthcare providers, when armed with the right mobile technology, hospice and home clinicians can be highly influential in improving patient awareness of medication interactions, helping home care patients reach for a safer medicine.

Fortunately, advances in mobile printing and other mobile technologies are enabling clinicians to quickly and easily ensure compliance while also improving the safety and quality of care delivered to patients in their homes.

Hospice and home healthcare workers are required to leave a detailed medication list at the patient’s residence. Handwriting lists is both time-consuming and prone to error for several reasons. Home health patients often take numerous medications with sometimes confusing instructions. Handwritten materials can sometimes be difficult to read, increasing the risk for medication errors. The possibility that harried clinicians may copy down information inaccurately can also contribute to increased risk.

Empower Clinicians to Deliver Better, Safer Care
Thanks to advances in compact, lightweight mobile printers, clinicians can now quickly print full-page 8½” x 11″ hard copies and immediately hand them to patients and/or family members and caregivers during a home visit. The ability to print these updated and personalized medication lists, along with helpful administration instructions and drug interaction data, ensures compliance and offers numerous additional benefits. These include saving valuable time, boosting patient safety, supporting adherence and improving outcomes.

Along with mobile printers, highly portable laptops, tablets and smartphones are transforming home healthcare delivery. Mobile devices make it simple and convenient for nurses, therapists and other clinicians on-the-go to document vital data, access patient records in real-time, check drug interactions and coordinate with other care providers, right in patient homes.

Although portable peripherals such as mobile printers sometimes take a back seat to other technology, they can play game-changing roles in enhancing patient safety and clinician productivity. By enabling clinicians to print consent, waiver and refusal of service forms and get the required signatures on the spot, mobile printers can save valuable time and speed proper treatment.  Clinicians can also print teaching guides, point-of-care treatment plans and patient master demographics. This ability to educate family and caregivers about patient conditions and convey complex information about patient care in what may be an emotionally charged situation can prove crucial to avoiding hospital readmissions and the resulting Medicare reimbursement penalties for providers.

With the healthcare industry’s growing emphasis on providing a full continuum of patient care beyond hospital walls, home healthcare will play an increasingly vital role in the future, and in-home printing of critical patient documents will become more valuable than ever in increasing patient safety. Not only do mobile printers promote and ensure compliance with the plethora of mandates integral to providing care in today’s environment, but they enhance the quality of care home health providers deliver and enable them to deliver it more efficiently than ever.

For further thoughts on safety In home health, I recommend reading an article I authored last year, Portable Peripherals Play: Game-Changers in Enhancing Patient Safety and Clinician Productivity featured in advance healthcare network, ExecutiveInsight.

June is National Safety Month. To learn more from the National Safety Council, visit www.nsc.org/safe4life.

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