Much ado has recently been made about efforts to increase use of technology in terms of medical record-keeping. This is particularly true when it comes to use of electronic prescriptions. However, new research reported this weekend in Medical News Today explained how medication errors seemed to continue at the same rate with electronic prescriptions.
The study published in the Journal of American Medical Information Association comes as a disappointment for all those hoping the “E-prescriptions” would help improve medical care by limiting the prevalence of mistake. That does not appear to be the case. The 2008 research examined nearly 4,000 prescriptions from three pharmacy chains over a 4-week period.
The results indicated that about 11.7% of those electronically filed prescriptions contained some form of error. Thirty five percent of those mistakes were of a severity that could cause serious harm to the patient. For example, many of the more serious errors involved dose duration, and frequency omissions. Without that information included patients are at a significant risk of suffering injury. These error rates were about the same as has been found in handwritten prescriptions.
The researchers found that the vast majority of these mistakes could have been eliminated with software improvements. Specifically, more advanced versions of these computer programs could include “forcing functions” which would not allow a doctor to submit the prescription without ensuring that all of the required fields are filled out.
Our Illinois medical malpractice lawyers have worked with many patients who suffered harm because of medication errors. The dangers posed with use of drugs in medical care makes it imperative that all medical professionals triple-check their work to ensure no problems arise. If you or a loved one was hurt because of one of these mistakes be sure to get in touch with a lawyer to learn about your rights.
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