There has been considerable growth and sophistication in the world of Safety and Quality in Australia and internationally. There are many well documented and specific elements to the safety and quality process such as auditing, standards, guidelines and education plus a steadily increasing commitment of resources and expenditure to ensure the achievement and maintenance of safety in health care. Still far from perfect, significant achievements have been put in place and are making a difference.
A number of hospitals are approaching ‘digital hospital’ status and there is an exponential growth in all manner of health care applications from mobility, advances in telehealth, home monitoring and complex messaging relating to interoperablity between facilities, specialists and primary care services.
It is my belief that eHealth will need an equal or larger commitment to clinical safety into the future. There are many aspects that will need long term management.
These include though not limited to:
In a similar structural way that the clinical Safety and Quality movement has dedicated teams, independent or preferably integrated, with existing structures, I believe this needs to occur within the clinical informatics domain. While both movements need to move in harmony, new sets of skills will be needed along with education, accreditation guides, auditors and a host of research activities. All these functions will need to be networked with a central functioning safety body to ensure consistency and integration as well as leadership, training and career development.
Then we should all feel safer when the machine asks us how are you feeling today!