According to a study posted on MedPage Today, electronic prescribing or e-prescribing significantly reduces the amount of drug or medication errors.
Researchers for the University of New South Wales examined 3,291 patient records for medication mistakes before and after the implementation of electronic prescribing programs. Each patient's chart was reviewed for clinical errors, incomplete or unclear drug orders, and incorrect medication or dosing.
The study found that in three different areas of the hospital, medication error rates dropped by 58 to 66 percent as compared to the units that did not use an e-prescribing system. The researches said that "the study showed that e-prescribing leads to a "statistically significant reduction in total prescribing error rates by more that 55%, driven by the substantial reductions in incomplete, illegal, and unclear orders."
But, as we all know, nothing is fail-proof. The researches also noted that e-prescribing systems can also cause medication errors. In addition to software design glitches, a wrong medication, dose, or route can be accidentally selected from a drop-down menu. Johanna Westbrook, the lead author of the study and director of the Center for Health Systems and Safety Research at the University of South Wales, indicated that approximately 35% of the medication errors that happened after the e-prescribing system was installed, were related to software design failures.
Even though e-prescribing systems look promising in reducing the amount of medication errors, there are still some glitches that need to be worked out. In the meantime, nurses and doctors still should remember the 5 R's: Right Patient, Right Route, Right Dose, Right Time, and Right Medication.
Unfortunately, despite all the advances to help eliminate or reduce medication mistakes, drug errors still occur. Many times, the medication error will not cause any long term damage to a patient. However, some medication errors can lead to cardiogenic shock, cardiac arrhythmias, anaphylactic shock or allergic reactions, Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS), hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), brain damage or even death. One medication error can be one too many when it comes to a patient's life.
Here at the Beasley medication mistake law firm, we have on staff experienced doctors and nurses who have worked in hospitals and administered medications. We are very familiar with all the proper policies, procedures and safety precautions related to proper medication administration. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a medication mistake or drug error, please feel free to contact one of our experienced lawyers, physicians or nurses at (215) 866-2424 for a strictly confidential and free consultation. Our Firm has been awarded two of the highest medical malpractice verdicts in Pennsylvania and Jim Beasley Jr. has been consistently named in Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers. To date, we have had over $2 billion awarded on behalf of our injured clients.