Errors in electronic drug prescription match handwritten
The U.S. government spent over $158.3 million the past six months to encourage American doctors and hospitals to shift to electronic health records in a bid to lower healthcare costs and cut medical mistakes.
Boston, MA, United States
June 30, 2011 10:33 pm EDT
Health, Medicine, Western, Economy, Business And Finance, Computing And Information Technology, Wireless Technology, Science And Technology, Electronics
Computer-generated drug prescriptions matched the rate of errors when compared with handwritten prescriptions, according to research published Wednesday.
The study by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital found up to 12 percent errors. It was based on an analysis of 3,850 electronic prescriptions written over four weeks.
Of the 452 prescriptions discovered to have mistakes, 163 have the potential of harming the patient. Previous studies yielded a similar rate of risk of errors for handwritten prescriptions.
The U.S. government spent over $158.3 million the past six months to encourage American doctors and hospitals to shift to electronic health records in a bid to lower healthcare costs and cut medical mistakes. But the study indicates that the anticipated safety benefits are undermined, said Karen Nanji of MGH’s Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Department and one of the study’s authors.
Among the most common errors were the lack of key information, such as medicine dose and frequency the drug should be taken, improper abbreviation, conflicting information on how and when to take the medication, and clinical errors in choice or use of the treatment.
The researchers raised alarm over the high rate or error because based on over 3 billion prescriptions written yearly in the U.S., that would be equivalent to 386 million errors yearly, of which 128 million (35 percent) have the potential of harming the patient.
Manufacturers of the electronic drug prescription machines are General Electric, Siemens, Cerner Corporation, Allscripts Healthcare Solutions and Epic Systems Corporation.
The study was published in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.
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