Discovery Channel Documentary Features the Brigham and Women's Hospital HIT-CERT
By Audrey Grayson and Pamela Paradis Metoyer, ELS(D)
Can technology be harnessed to improve the quality of health care and reduce human errors? This probing question was the focus of “Surfing the Healthcare Tsunami: Bring Your Best Board™,” a documentary that aired on the Discovery™ Channel in April and May of this year. Discussing the significant measures taken by the aviation and auto racing industries to improve safety, the documentary shows how the same measures might be taken in the health care industry to improve quality of care and reduce human errors when prescribing medications, ordering tests, or administering care.
The documentary features David Bates, M.D., principal investigator at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Health Information Technology Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics. Dr. Bates is a major leader in the movement to use health information technology (HIT) to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors. His research has explored the utility of sensing systems, bar coding, and computerized decision support as safety tools.
A study led by Dr. Bates, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998,1 found that potential drug-related adverse events declined by 84 percent when doctors were required to use computerized order entry. Another study led by Dr. Bates, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine last July,2 found that the use of computerized provider order entry systems reduced drug-related injuries by 34 percent in five community hospitals in Massachusetts.
“How would you feel if you’re getting on an airplane and you look[ed] to the left and you saw that there were no instruments on the [cockpit] panel? Well, that really is what it’s like when a doctor sits down with a blank piece of paper in a hospital and writes an order for a drug or a test,” Dr. Bates explains in the documentary. “We need to computerize ordering, and that can make things substantially safer.”
Using what he learned from his HIT research, Dr. Bates has worked to improve HIT systems at Brigham and Women’s Hospital to reduce medical errors and drug-related injuries. By spearheading such patient safety campaigns, Dr. Bates has helped Brigham and Women’s Hospital become a leading institutional role model for patient safety and quality of care.
“Surfing the Healthcare Tsunami: Bring Your Best Board™” is available as a podcast that is free for downloading on the Discovery™ Channel CME Web site at: www.discoveryhealthcme.discovery.com/tsunami/program/podcast.html.
Learn more about other recent media attention for the Brigham and Women's Hospital HIT-CERT.
1. Bates DW, Leape LL, Cullen DJ, et al. Effect of computerized physician order entry and a team intervention on prevention of serious medication errors. JAMA 1998 Oct 21;280(15):1311-6. PMID: 9794308.