During the recent International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare, I facilitated a specialty poster focus group themed on record keeping. It was thought-provoking to hear different views on the latest ways to combat the everyday issues of ineffective record keeping.
Throughout the tour, the delegates heard a range of ideas, from the small and simple, to the more ambitious and innovative. The overarching message from each passionate presenter was the same, though; we need to make things work better for the benefit of the patient. What was clear is that this issue is still problematic, and not specific to one profession alone.
One physician from Florida highlighted how he and colleagues have used voice recognition software (VRS) to improve the patient consultation. He described the use of VRS as a ‘leap of faith’, but one that has paid off, and totally transformed his consultation time with patients.
Another discussion was the illegibility of doctors’ signatures, which was raised as a real concern for patient safety. This remains a real problem globally, but in order to address this issue, one presenter has tested the use of a self-inking pocket-sized stamp for doctors. The ‘measure for improvement’ for the use of the stamp was completed with a 100 per cent success rate. This could be a very simple answer to the problem.
It’s clear that there is a real drive to improve the current practice of record keeping with disruptive ideas. Some ideas can be implemented instantly, but others may take time, and need time, to be implemented successfully. As we all strive for excellence and to make inspired improvements in our work, a commonality runs through all of the ideas we heard at the forum – they involve team work.
And that team work doesn’t end with colleagues, it includes patients, too. If you’re going to create a revolution, then you need people behind you.
Angela Williams is a Lecturer in Nursing at Bangor University. Follow her on twitter at @AnnWilliams6