Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Medication errors and electronic prescribing

Medication errors have been identified as a major type of medical errors and are an important factor that influences the quality of care we receive.

This article looks at the wider use of electronic prescribing to reduce the risk of medication errors. This is of significant interest to consumers espeically at this time of development of e-health.

The authors performed a systematic and quantitative review to determine the effect of electronic prescribing on the risk of medication errors and adverse drug events

Our results indicate that electronic prescribing seems to be a useful intervention for reducing the risk of medication errors and ADEs. We found that there is especially good evidence for a positive effect of electronic prescribing offering advanced decision support functionality in hospital settings.

Another of their conclusions of particular interest is that:
insufficient implementation planning, or systems that are not integrated into the general information systems, may lead to negative effects on the process and even the outcome of care

You can read the full article - The Effect of Electronic Prescribing on Medication Errors and Adverse Drug Events: A Systematic Review
(As an aside, the article gets quite technical at times and the tables of data are a little imposing.)

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