The 7 Most Costly and Overlooked Healthcare Administration Mistakes

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The healthcare sector is under constant pressure to meet the challenges of the continuous rise in the aging population and retirement of the medical staff. The shortage of staff overall and unavailability of high-quality medical service providers also add to this burden. The medical staff serves long working hours and performs diverse duties to ease this burden. This situation led to administrative mistakes in the healthcare system. Some mistakes are minor, whereas some can prove fatal to the patients. Several clinical mistakes are part of the daily practice of the medical setups. However, errors that could cause serious damage to the reputation and treatment of the patients should be avoided. 

The most common administrative mistakes in healthcare services are mentioned below that are costly and often overlooked. 

Wrong Investigation of Requests and Results 

Another most costly healthcare administrative mistake is the incorrect request for diagnostic tests and errors in the results. Though, sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint whether these errors are the outcomes of the administrative carelessness or wrong interpretation of the results of the diagnostic tests. Instead of a lack of knowledge and skill, these administrative errors are more closely linked to mismanagement of group practice systems. The most common cause of faults in investigation requests and results is the mismanagement in the patients’ identification and the reporting process. The role of nurse administrator can help cope with such types of errors in the healthcare system. A nurse can become a Nurse Administrator to manage the diagnostic test system and results properly. This leadership role can guide other nurses and healthcare service providers to fulfill their duties efficiently, ensuring quality care and services.

Errors in Documentation and Charting 

The provision and maintenance of comprehensive and essential information in a chart is a vital component of the treatment plan of the patient’s care. Somehow errors in the documentation are common in medical facilities and cost high value to the healthcare service providers. These errors are also the cause of lawsuits. While preparing documents or charts of patients, every primary care service provider should become vigilant and careful. They should note down the correct symptoms, drug and medication information, and any noticeable change in behavior or medical condition of the patients. In addition, they also need to record the care provided by the attendants—for example, patients’ nutrition and pharmaceutical consumption, injections, vital sign monitoring, etc.

Errors in Medical Record 

One of the common healthcare administrative mistakes is the most often found errors in the patients’ medical records. It includes incomplete or inaccurate information. For instance, healthcare service providers sometimes swap patients’ files while filling in information or provide incomplete information in records. It leads to the wrong diagnosis and ultimately causes severe consequences for the overall quality of healthcare services. However, these issues have become less prevalent owing to the implementation of the electronic medical record system in medical services. 

Electronic data has its share of administrative drawbacks. The patient’s record or medical history is at high risk of disclosure to third parties. Though, with electronic medical records, the problems of illegible handwriting have been resolved. But sometimes, it becomes troublesome to access patients’ information on digital platforms due to delays in loading or other technical hindrances. The mass volume of data in the system also makes it difficult to examine patients’ medical records promptly. 

Errors in Identification of Patients

Sometimes, patients’ medical records get exchanged because of the same name or same medical conditions. It also occurs due to the absence of a proper system in place that can cross-check or examine the records of patients. This situation results in the misidentification of a patient provided with a wrong diagnosis and treatment plan. This situation often worsens when patients consult outside of working hours and do not convey the same information to their care providers.

Barriers in Communication During Transitions of Care 

A costly mistake is lacking verbal communication or comprehensive written information to the healthcare service provider while moving from one medical facility. For instance, a patient may get readmitted to the medical facility due to missing information. According to research, patients are six times likely to readmit to hospitals within three months owing to communication mistakes. Similarly, communication problems also occur before or after the discharge of patients between medical care providers at a hospital and home. It affects the recovery period of patients and often results in the deterioration of health. 

The most common reasons for communication errors between hospitals and primary care services include:  

  • Absence of discharge summaries within the designated time
  • Illegible discharge summaries 
  • Discharge summaries having wrong or incomplete information 
  • Failure to notify primary care service provider followed by the attendance of a patient in the emergency department 
  • Unrealistic expectations and instructions of hospital staff regarding post-discharge care such as pathology follow-up 

Errors in Medication

Medication errors can cause severe damage to the wellbeing of the patients, directly affecting the treatment plan and recovery period. The common mistakes related to medication include wrong prescription or delivery of wrong medicines to the patients or incorrect dosage of medication. According to research, administrative shortfalls are linked with almost 32% medication errors. It is always best to double-check the medication before handing it over to the patients or care providers. Similarly, proper attention while dispensing medication and drugs can ensure proper and correct dosage according to the prescription. 

Errors in Follow-up System

To achieve speedy recovery of patients, a proper and well-managed follow-up system can prove helpful. Common errors found during the follow-up include a lack of patient records after discharge, such as reminders and recalls for regular check-ups and monitoring. This situation is more prevalent during elderly care and patients receiving consultation in locations other than the healthcare facility. 

Conclusion 

In addition to these administrative mistakes, several other pitfalls are part of the healthcare system. These include faults in appointment, testing, referral, provision of a safe working environment, and after-hours care. Modern medical facilities must upgrade their infrastructures and install their setups according to the requirements of the present times. For instance, they can increase the quality of the service delivery while mitigating errors by integrating technology. However, they still need competent healthcare administrators who can oversee the functioning of the facilities. In such a scenario, it is always a better approach to fill the gap of medical staff and train them to tackle the administrative hindrances.

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