Recent studies have found that NHS administrative errors are a lot more frequent than previously thought and they are causing appalling levels of harm. These errors consist of anything from incorrect medication being prescribed to operating on the wrong person. It is shocking to think that errors like this, which are so easily avoidable are still happening on a daily basis.
A recent report conducted by Manchester University concluded that over 200 million errors occur each year just from incorrect drug administration. Even more frustrating is that some of these errors were purely down to illegible handwriting. The fact that tasks such as monitoring drug dosage is still recorded on paper documentation is absurd. The current system has major flaws when it comes to storing and handling medical records and leaves the NHS susceptible to so much human error.
The root cause of a lot of these errors is the lack of interconnectivity between various NHS departments. Medical records stored in a GP’s office are never accessible on hospital databases. Without this vital information, errors are inevitable and patient safety is jeopardized.
And it’s not even just down to mistakes, tampering of medical records is another major issue facing the healthcare sector. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) regularly investigates NHS operations and recently found that evidence was being hidden and medical records had been tampered with to avoid a bad rating. The CQC is now treating this as criminal behaviour and serious changes need to be made to prevent it from happening.
We should invest time in researching the other parameters that affect and influence a doctor’s decision and also find ways to improve that process. For example- access to health care records, miscommunications and delayed advice.
With blockchain, so many of these problems could be avoided. It is a much more secure and effective solution for storing and retrieving patient medical records. Blockchain can be used to change ownership of data to the patients and give them the power to share information, providing full transparency and avoid errors caused by miscommunication. In
addition, data stored on blockchain is completely immutable, preventing any tampering of records and incorrect information being passed along or deleted.
Blockchain has the potential to eliminate so many administration errors. The healthcare sector needs to utilise available technology to overhaul their archaic procedures and vastly improve patient safety. As a leading contributor to patient morbidity and mortality, these errors must be taken seriously, to not only protect patient welfare but also create real changes for the future.