According to a recent study, hospitals that adopt e-prescribing technology are able to reduce medication errors by almost two-thirds.
The study, published in the peer-reviewed medical journal PLoS Medicine, revealed hospital patient care areas using e-prescribing software reduced error rates from 58 to 66 percent. Serious errors fell by 44 percent in those same areas.
Researchers from the University of New South Wales in Australia studied more than 3,000 patient records in two local hospitals. The researchers were searching for incorrect dosage levels, incomplete drug orders, clinical errors and unclear drug orders.
According to the finding summary, medication errors — everything from allergic reactions to pharmacies misreading a dosage amount — frequently occur in hospitals and medical offices. Researchers found that the errors were responsible for thousands of deaths worldwide each year.
Researchers point to e-prescribing as a way to reduce these errors. Electronic prescribing programs review patients’ medication histories and known allergy lists, alerting doctors to any potential problems with currently prescribed drugs.
The study revealed e-prescribing also reduces the odds that pharmacists will improperly fill a medication order. Instead of relying on illegible physician handwritten notes–pharmacies electronically receive medication errors alerts. According to the researchers, “these findings provide persuasive evidence of the current and potential ability of commercial e-prescribing systems to reduce prescribing errors in hospital in-patients provided these systems are continually monitored and refined to improve performance.”
These findings could result in more and more physicians and hospitals quickly adopting e-prescribing, find out more here.
Dr. Kaufman joined DrFirst as the Chief Medical Officer in late 1999. After developing a strong interest in medical informatics while on the faculty at Bowman Gray School of Medicine (Wake Forest University) in the late 1980s, he continued working within this area even after entering private practice in 1989. Dr. Kaufman founded PiNK software in 1996 to produce electronic medical records software. He has lectured nationally on computers in medicine, electronic medical records, the Internet and medical practice, and high-tech medicine. He is a board certified gastroenterologist and continues to practice medicine approximately 15 hours per week for a gastroenterology practice in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Kaufman participates in multiple national organizations promoting standards in healthcare, including the Physicians EHR Coalition (Secretary/Executive Board), CCHIT (Stand-alone eRx Workgroup), HIMSS (eRx Workgroup), NCPDP (Workgroup 11), and the AMA (Delegate from the American Gastroenterological Association). He received a B.S. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.D. from George Washington School of Medicine.
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