The Effects of “To Err is Human” in Nursing Practice: Health Information Technology

When patients come into contact with the healthcare setting, they are convinced they are safe and that their needs for healthcare will be addressed. However, their expectations are not always met due to preventable medical errors (Plawecki & Amrhein, 2009). Hence, there is a need to come up with effective measures to address this problem for safety and quality health care to be provided to the diverse patient populations. Nurses and other healthcare providers are well positioned to address the problem through effective application of health information technology (HIT) (Cipriano & Murphy, 2011).

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Through effective management of patient data, it becomes possible for HIT to play a role in preventing the errors in healthcare. After all, the highest percentage of the errors is preventable (Wakefield, 2008). With HIT, all the information on the patient is available at a central place and readily accessible for use by the providers. For example, nurses are the ones who are usually responsible for the day-to-day care of the patients. Hence, when there is a change in shift, there is no danger that the new nurse will make mistakes as all the information on care offered by the previous nurse is provided (American Nurses Association, 2015).

Among other areas, most of the errors occur in the administration of drugs to the patients. This could be prevented where information on the patient matched to the relevant medication is centrally available (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2015). Other information like drug interactions is important to prevent erring. When the information is available, the chances of making medical errors are reduced by a huge margin. Hence, all providers should be offered with the IT resources and training to capitalize on IT capabilities.



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American Nurses Association. (2015). Nursing informatics: Scope & standards of practice (2nd ed.). Silver Springs, MD: Author.

Cipriano, P. F., & Murphy, J. (2011). Nursing informatics. The future of nursing and health IT: The quality elixir. Nursing Economic. 29(5), 282, 286–289.

McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. G. (2015). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.

Plawecki, L. H., & Amrhein, D. W. (2009). Clearing the err. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 35(11), 26–29.

Wakefield, M. K. (2008). The Quality Chasm series: Implications for nursing. In R. G. Hughes (Ed.), Patient safety and quality: An evidence-based handbook for nurses (Vol. 1, pp. 47–66). Rockville, MD: U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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