Role of technology in emergency department.

Abdus Salam Khan, MD FACP
July, 2017

Emergency department is a place can be chaotic and is prone to potential errors. This is due to high risk situations addressed in shorts span of time. Sometimes difficult situation arise due to crowding of patients and other times delay in decision-making due to factors not in control of the emergency department. Let us talk about instances arise due to these difficult situations and see how and what technology can do to overcome it.


Emergency department by design in Pakistan are not close area of patient care and sees unending arrival of patients 24 hours a day. Due to lack of pre-hospital care sometimes ED is the first point of contact for unstable patients even when they arrived by ambulances. So by the time the patient is seen by the emergency doctor enough time is gone since the conditions started developing and a good outcome becomes less likely because of time-lapse.


Once the patient arrives and the evaluation started, the different input/output points become very important. We need laboratory data quick, radiology data quick and at the same time access to previous records of the patient. For proper treatment of unstable patients these parameters and results should be available to physicians as soon as is feasible, otherwise the patient satisfaction go down and the quality of care is compromised.


Technology can provide enormous help in regards to all the above input points and can provide treating physician needed information. The technology has in enormous ways to streamline what, make clinical decisions, audit, forecast and document quality of care. From time management to bed management, from lab reporting to radiology films technology provides options that tailored to individual needs and circumstances.


For the treating physician it is most important to have old ECG or the medication record and allergy information available at the time when patients are seen in the emergency department. For the nurse incharge the bed situations and bottlenecks are the issues that can’t be effective resolved using technology. For the patients availability of their previous information and smoothly orchestrated process of treatment is all that they required when they visit the emergency department.


For the hospital financial issues and outcome studies matter a lot. Similarly safety issues for the patients and hospital can amicably be addressed using technology. From small-scale to nationwide, data input and analysis is now integral part of healthcare delivery. Electronic medical records is a must for patients for plenty of countries and healthcare systems for good reason. We need to create this understanding among our care providers as well as decision makers. All across healthcare dimensions technology can play a role to help specific concerns and make process and safe.


Small scale data when collaborated among different individual institutions can produce a nationwide data resource that can effectively improve our national healthcare system through audits and research based on outcome studies. Due to the nature of emergency work and the way our emergency care is delivered, it is utmost important to utilize technology in our patients favor and give them satisfaction regarding the system of care.


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