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Complexity in Healthcare Risky for Patients

Posted Thursday, July 19, 2018 by Morgan Cartwright

Over the years, many healthcare organizations have evolved into large and complex systems where the care of the patient is sometimes compromised precisely because of this complexity. The healthcare industry now often has so many moving parts that all of the individuals involved have to be in the same gear, otherwise the care of the patient stalls. If this happens, it can result in serious harm to the patient.

In one example, a wife of a man with dementia went to the long-term care facility that he was recently admitted to. Prior to the long-term care facility, the man was physically healthy other than his cognitive dysfunction. However, over time at the facility he developed urinary tract infections, bedsores, pneumonia, and swelling of his hands and legs. The wife tried to speak to individuals at the facility but was told, “That’s not my job, but I’ll pass this on to the nurse/doctor/supervisor.”

In another example, an intern at a hospital was given the responsibility of getting an echocardiogram scheduled, finding a cardiologist who took the patient’s insurance, getting a stress test authorized by the patient’s insurance company, and getting prescription medicine authorized by an insurance company. All of this was for a patient the intern had never even met.

Most of the time, the solution lies in safe systems promoting patient safety, and a teamwork effort that follows those safe systems in the context of so many moving parts. By failing to implement such safe systems, the healthcare organizations risk the care of the patient.

You can read more about the dangers of providing health care with too many moving parts here:

Healthcare Has Too Many Moving Parts

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