Using the Web to Improve Seniors' Awareness of Their Role in Preventing Medical Errors

Article excerpt

Oermann MH, Hamilton J, Shook ML. Using the Web to improve seniors' aivareness of their role in preventing medical errors. J Nurs Care Qual. 2003;18(2):122-128.

The purpose of this article was to educate seniors in quality of health care and how to prevent medical errors by using a Web-based intervention strategy. The authors completed a survey in 2000 and reported that a leading measure of health care quality in consumers was medical errors. Americans over age 55, comprising 21% of the population, are considered the most likely to need health care. As such, the authors targeted this group for education with regards to quality of care and medical errors, to enable these consumers to assume a more active role in their own care.

The National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) suggested that seeking information about diagnosis, treatment, and health care providers can help to decrease medical errors in health care. Moreover, keeping a log of medical history, working as a team member with the health care professionals, involving family members or friends in medical care, and following the medical treatment plan were also suggested by the Foundation. Also, individuals over 55 are the fastest growing group of Internet users in the United States, making the Internet a new and valuable tool for patient education. The Internet can be a cost-effective way of providing patient education, but Web sites need to be evaluated for credibility, accuracy, disclosure, accessibility, and currency.

The authors cited studies in which the use of computers also enhanced self-esteem in the elderly, while providing mental stimulation, increasing social interaction, and educating the user. In one instance, the authors studied 26 participants from a senior citizens community center, ages 51 to 83. …