A Call to Action on Patient Safety

The World Health Organization has called for global action to improve patient safety. Technologies like AI and RFID can help automate processes and reduce patient risk.

Hospitals can be dangerous place for patients. Even if they are successfully treated for the ailment that led to their admission, there are risks of secondary infections, injury, and the possibility of retained surgical items (or instruments left inside a patient’s body after a procedure).

Surgeons performing surgery in operating Theater.A recent article in The Economist provides a good outline of the problem.

A 2017 OECD study estimated that 10 percent of patients are harmed at some point during their stay in a hospital, and a study by Johns Hopkins medical school estimates that medical errors cause up to 250,000 deaths per year. The OECD study also found that unintended or unnecessary harm in a medical setting is the 14th leading cause of ill health globally (ranking it right near malaria and tuberculosis). At the the World Health Organization’s (WHO) annual meeting in May, delegates discussed “global action” on patient safety.

While there are key operational steps hospitals can take to reduce these issues (adherence to hand washing and sterilization procedures, etc.), technology presents the greatest potential for reducing medical errors. The healthcare industry is beginning to take a lesson from the manufacturing and aviation sectors to help improve patient safety through automation and better analytics – specifically, the use of artificial intelligence (AI).

Researchers are hoping to use AI for a lot of innovative applications in healthcare, including everything from spotting disease outbreak patterns to producing more accurate diagnoses. But it’s AI’s ability to help automate dull, routine tasks that are prone to human error that can have the biggest impact on patient safety.

And combined with RFID, AI could eliminate errors in surgical instrument sterilization and the incidence of retained surgical items. Xerafy’s healthcare solutions already take patient safety strategies to the next level by providing automated surgical instrument counting and sterilization tracking. AI can further remove errors caused by boredom or distraction, as well as analyze potential bottlenecks or process flaws using the data generated by RFID tags.

As the global healthcare industry rallies to improve patient safety, RFID and AI solutions can help hospitals achieve their goals and improve outcomes. To learn more about how Xerafy’s solutions can improve safety, read our previous blog or visit our website.

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