Health Care safety is a very important aspect to the patients well being. It is essential in securing the medical records, ensuring the correct patient gets the right treatment, and to be sure that medications are given correctly. In addition to safety, the security of the patient while they are in the health care facility is also very important. Problems such as identity theft, stolen property and even attacks on patients are not unheard of. To combat these problems hospitals are going high tech and are fighting back with things that seem right out of Star Trek.
In the past health care has been thought to be safe and secure. According to an article by Abigail Goldman (2009, one recent incident of identity theft took place in Nevada and racked up approximately $200,000 in costs. This type of identity theft has spiked and criminals are finding ways to become someone else and be treated under another name. This in turn means that some patients are being billed for services that they never received or even intended to receive. This confusion is sometimes hard to correct and can be a very stressful and upsetting time for the person whose medical identity was stolen. To help combat this problem some of the larger hospital systems like Carolina’s Medical Center in Charlotte, NC have adopted hand scanning techniques. This is helping to ensure that the right patient is linked with the right chart and is receiving the right treatment. The website for Carolina’s Medical Center reports that this technology is severely cutting down on the stealing of identities in the medical setting. The scanning is done initially and then each time the patient comes back to the facility for treatment. Since everyone’s hand prints are different it is difficult for a criminal to become someone else.
Another type of scanning is also taking place in the surgical rooms. According to the website for Carolina’s Medical Center reports that many of the items used in surgery are now scanned and double checked to ensure that none have been left behind in the patient’s body. This technique is proving to be very secure for patients having surgery and very reassuring to the medical staff and physicians that do multiple surgeries every day. This same type of scanning technology is also used to ensure the correct medications are given to the correct patient and that the right lab and diagnostic tests are being performed. These types of high tech procedures are proving to be beneficial to the patients as well as the hospitals.
High tech camera and monitoring systems are being used throughout the medical facilities. Security officers are keeping an eye on every movement made throughout the building and even the parking facilities. There are services such as valet parking and officers walking visitors to their cars after dark. Alarm systems are also being placed in parking garages for use in emergencies. Secure areas in the hospital are also more difficult to get into. The doors into these areas open only to employees and staff with an bar scan on their ID badges. Each bar code is different and assigned to that individual staff member. If the staff does not belong in an area they cannot go there.
Computer systems are also becoming very high tech. Almost every physician and health care facility is now using electronic medical records. If a staff member is not attending a particular patient they cannot get into that particular chart. There are also monitoring systems that constantly check to see if staff is getting into charts and computerized information that they have no business being in. This has been done in an effort to enforce the HIPAA Laws and ensure that patient information is not being reviewed by the appropriate staff and not someone who will release information illegally or steal identities.
Advanced Technology in a medical setting is quickly proving to be of assistance with keeping the patient’s safe and ensuring that there are less errors and incidents. The security and safety of the patient has to first and foremost in a hospital. No one wants to come to a medical facility and be harmed or injured or have their identity stolen. As technology advances we are sure to see even more revolutionary devices and systems that will provide even more security to patients.
Abigail Goldman (June 14, 2009). “Complications Abound When Identity Stolen
is a Patient’s.” Las Vegas Sun
Carolinas Medical Center (2009). “Patient Identifing Technology Can Decrease
Chances of Medical Identity Theft.” www.carolinashealthcare.org