Recent study continues to confirm the impact of distraction on medical errors

Patient-Safety-AuthorityThe persistent push to increase patient throughput, an increase in the complexity of clinical procedures and an overriding demand for a superior patient experience all dominate the minds of today’s MRI Technologists, Directors of Radiology and Hospital Administrators. Unfortunately, balancing these objectives against patient and staff safety place additional burdens on the entire process which unequivocally fall squarely on the shoulders of those on the front lines; the MRI technologists.

As confirmed in a recent study by the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority (click here to download study), distractions continue to play a dominant role as a contributor to medical errors (including errors of omission and errors in communication). While the study provides broader context to those errors reported throughout the entire medical landscape, radiology is particularly affected due to the presence of unique technological hazards and combined clinical procedures. The ability to adequately communicate from the MRI room, adequately restrict access to the MRI room while focusing on room prep and patient care and achieving the overall goals of throughput targets and quality diagnostic imaging leave little room for handling the daily distractions that are bound to arise.

The study offers some suggestions to assist in the mitigation of distractions however the keys lie in careful consideration of the source of distractions and elimination or diversion of that source. Patient and staff safety should always be paramount and should be considered in conjunction with how measures designed to address safety could also eliminate distractions and ease the mind of those on the front line. Quality patient care, a superior patient experience and increased throughput are all possible when the focus of an MRI technologist is not diverted by unnecessary distraction.

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