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Medical Device Training's Impact on Healthcare Quality Improvements

This blog post excerpts an article by Danielle R. Coleman, Director of Medical Technologies, HealthStream, in the Fall 2014 issue of HealthStream's PX Advisor, our quarterly magazine focused on improving the patient experience.

Medical technologies and therapeutic treatments are instrumental to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of diseases. Medical device technology has evolved significantly during the years to become increasingly computer-based, software driven, wireless, and interoperable with other technologies. With more than 10,000 types of medical devices available to support patient care, deciding on what technology is best for your healthcare environment can be a challenge, but how to properly use and become proficient with it is an entirely different story.

Value-Based Purchasing, Reimbursement, and Medical Device Training

Online Medical Technology TrainingWith the implementation of the Value-Based Purchasing Program, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) takes into account the quality of care provided and the overall patient experience to determine reimbursement to eligible providers. Any potential loss to reimbursement and/or penalties accrued can be costly to a healthcare organization’s bottom line. Reimbursement for specific hospital acquired conditions may be limited or nonexistent. On occasion, device technology user errors can contribute to hospital-acquired conditions, therefore introducing risk to the patient and the hospital’s financials. Per an article from the World Health Organization, up to 19% of nursing staff admitted to incorrectly using device technology, causing patient harm. At the same time, user errors can strongly impact the healthcare professional involved in the adverse event by causing frustration and reducing morale. It is reported: “medical device use causes more than 75% of nurses to feel stressed." he nursing department is the most frequent user of medical devices and has the greatest influence on patient outcomes. It is vital for nurses, along with other healthcare professionals, to be confident in their role and the technology used to provide care on a daily basis.

Lessening the Risk Inherent to Medical Device Technology

As device technology influences medical techniques and patient services, it also introduces risk into the system. In 2010, hospital systems invested $156.3 billion on device and diagnostic technology to support patient care. According to Materials Management in Health Care’s April 2010 article, "nstructions Included?," when making safety training part of the medical device procurement process, “less than 50% of quotation requests included costs for training” on complex medical devices, with the training requests split between end user and biomed training. When new technology is implemented in a facility, the solution manufacturer traditionally provides onsite or remote training for end users. However, employees may be absent or unavailable during the allocated training period and miss an opportunity for first-hand training experience.

This article also includes:

  • The Importance of Device Training
  • How to Provide and Manage Device Training
  • Required Features for Successful Training 

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