It seems that new technology enters our nursing lives on a daily basis.
Since the introduction of Electronic Medical Health Records (EHRs/EMRs), doctors’ offices have evolved to be very familiar with the benefits of technology; despite an initially slow adaptation and adjustment period. Although there are still a few issues with the standardization of EHRs, they are gaining favor among hospitals and researchers for allowing access to a wide net of information.
Big data – the collection and analysis of massive amounts of information through EHRs and studies – has changed the health care game for good. It has opened the door for a more successful implementation of evidence-based medicine across the country.
Currently, evidence-based medicine is praised by many doctors and leaders, but practiced by very few hospitals across our country. Despite its lack of use, it has some surprising benefits it can offer healthcare workers and patients.
Here are five facts about the promising future of evidence-based medicine (EBM).
1.) EBM and outbreak management
Many times serious outbreaks start out small with varying symptoms that are hard to pinpoint. We’ve most likely seen this on a less serious case with the annual flu season. Patients begin to trickle in with a headache, runny nose, or an ear infection, just before the full flu season breaks out and everyone is sick.
With EBM and EHRs, we can better analyze these symptoms and pinpoint the start of the flu season well before it becomes obvious. As the USC Keck School of Medicine points out in their article on technology and public health: by using geographic mapping, as well as massive collected evidence from previous flu (or other) outbreaks, we can assess and treat our patients more accurately with the help of technology.
2.) Recurrence of Admission
Evidence with a Stanford hospital has shown that recurrence of admission drops when EBM is properly implemented in hospitals and ER settings. With the help of EHRs and big data, nurses and doctors can keep track of a patient’s pattern of admission when they have been brought in with tell-tale health indicators.
It’s as simple as keeping notes on similar symptoms; doctors should notice patterns and will be able to fully assess a patient. For travel nurses, this is especially helpful. We can use the past EHRs of new-to-us patients to catch recurring symptoms, and then use the best possible options within EBM to help that patient find relief.
3.) EBMs and Understanding Illness
Since evidence-based medicine is based on – well-collected evidence, that means it is constantly changing and evolving with our understanding of health. Luckily, EHRs and health data analyzers allow us to collect and analyze information on such a large scale, and in such an instantaneous amount of time. We can keep up-to-date on the best treatments and further our understanding of new and emerging illnesses as they happen. The future is now!
4.) Consistent Care
Part of the process of implementing EBM properly includes follow-ups with patients to ensure they received the most accurate treatment path. This helps doctors catch problems before they happen, and helps patients understand their treatment plan more fully. This consistency in care can not only help travel nurses blend in but can help patients feel more trustworthy in their hospital or doctor.
5.) EBM Saves Money
When it comes to discussing health care, money is always brought up along the way. Luckily, EBM has proven to lower costs for not just patients (they have fewer and faster visits) but for hospitals too. So much of our medical spending is wasted on redundant tests and screenings, as well as on readmitting patients for treatable conditions or illnesses.
As evident in both the case of the hospital, Stanford Health (see #2), and in collecting evidence from doctors across the country; having access to patient records through EHRs and implementing evidence-based practice can help hospitals stay on track for lowering their annual expenses. In turn, this could change the very system of healthcare spending in America; but only if enough hospitals and offices catch on to the benefits.