Electronic Prescriptions May Not Reduce Prescription Errors
Bloomgberg.com reported recently that up to 12% of prescriptions sent electronically to pharmacies have some kind of doctor medication mistake. This is the same as the percentage of errors found in handwritten prescriptions.
3,850 electronic prescriptions written over a four week period were examined. The study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association shows 452 of these contained errors, 163 of which could have harmed the patient. The most common error was the omission of information related to dose or how often to take the medication.
The U.S. Government has paid over $158.3 million to doctors and hospitals to help facilitate the use of electronic medical record systems. The computer systems are meant to reduce errors thereby lowering healthcare costs. This study shows that the electronic systems need fail safes to prevent doctor medication errors as touted.
Doctors need to double check their prescriptions whether sending them electronically or writing them by hand to prevent medication errors. Pharmacists should take the time to verify confusing or missing information before dispensing the wrong medicine. This is the best way to reduce the number of medication mistakes and therefore healthcare costs.