Quick Hit – Technology doesn’t replace critical thinking

I’ve had a couple of eye opening conversations over the last week that have me concerned about the thought process surrounding pharmacy technology, where we’re going with it and what it’s supposed to do for us.

Rule #1: “That’s what the computer told me to do” simply isn’t justification for doing something that makes no sense. Computers are dumb. They do what we tell them, albeit very well, but they don’t think independently from the human operating them. It’s ok to question the decision made by technology if it doesn’t make sense clinically or logically. Drug errors occur for many reasons. And as humans we make mistakes and healthcare professionals are not exempt. Technology can be used as an additional barrier between a potential mistake and the patient; however pharmacists and nurses should not decrease their vigilance at any point in the medication distribution and administration process secondary to new technology.

Rule #2: technology implementation should not complicate your process. A complicated process is one that is destined to lead to frustration and create opportunities for mistake. Take advantage of technology to streamline a process. Create a better workflow, not a more cumbersome one.

I think the two things mentioned above are simple common sense, but somehow they get overlooked all the time. Just a thought.

2 thoughts on “Quick Hit – Technology doesn’t replace critical thinking”

  1. While the rewards of moving in this direction are substantial, this is certainly one of the perils of shifting to such a tech-heavy model in healthcare. Like you, I’m a technology advocate but the reality of it is that with today’s elevated workloads and preponderance of distractions, it’s easy to say, “I’m just doing what I was told” and let the burden of the “thinking” fall to the machines.

  2. Well said, Matt. I have to remind technology users all the time to continue “doing what you’ve always done” regarding their diligence. The technology is there to help, not replace.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.