Exciting new collaboration with Region Uppsala

The HTO group is now collaborating with Region Uppsala on an exciting new project aiming to increase the safety and quality of the medication process at the University Hospital.

Medication is a key aspect of patient treatment in hospitals. A patient’s medications are prescribed by a physician and administered by a nurse. The patient’s status is closely monitored to identify changes and adjust medication accordingly. As this medication process is complex, dynamic and involves multiple people, it comprises many opportunities for errors.

One of the main promises of healthcare digitalization is the prevention of medication errors. For example, most medication ordering systems nowadays issue warnings to physicians when they prescribe a drug that interacts with another prescription or that may be inappropriate for certain conditions, such as pregnancy. However, the number of warnings that a physician can process is limited. Too many warnings will cause alert fatigue and result in warnings being overlooked. For this reason, warnings at the time of prescription cannot prevent all types of mistakes.

To work around this limitation and further increase the appropriateness of patients’ medications, many hospitals also hire pharmacists to check prescriptions manually. But pharmacists don’t have the time to go through each patient’s prescriptions, and this pharmaceutical check can thus not be provided to all patients. The University Hospital in Uppsala would like to change that. They are seeking to implement a new system that would screen all patients’ prescriptions and bring the potentially dangerous or inappropriate ones to a pharmacist’s attention. That way, all patients’ treatment would, to some extent, be pharmaceutically validated.

But how should the interface of such a system be designed? And what should the process be like? These are the questions that the HTO group is going to work on in the upcoming months. We have already conducted over 20 interviews with physicians, pharmacists, and nurses to gain a better understanding of the medication process and the needs of the different professions involved. Our aim is also to integrate a well-being perspective into the design process by fostering clinicians’ experience of positive emotions (such as safety) in connection with the new system.

Diane Golay

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