Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

OHSU study finds computers greatly reduce prescription errors

05.11.2002


Computer prescriptions are three times less likely to contain errors than handwritten prescriptions



Have you ever received a drug prescription from a physician that looked like chicken scratch? You’re not alone. Pharmacists sometimes have a hard time reading prescriptions and in some cases they also are incomplete. To avoid errors, pharmacists have to spend precious time tracking down prescribers to clarify illegible or possibly inaccurate prescriptions. A new study by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University shows that prescriptions written on a computer are less likely to contain errors.

A study by the OHSU School of Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine study found that prescriptions initially entered into a computer reduce errors in the prescription by one-third and are five times less likely to require pharmacist clarification than handwritten prescriptions. The study was published in the November 2002 issue of Academic Emergency Medicine (www.aemj.org), published by Hanley & Belfus.


"This new computer system is really the foundation for ongoing improvements in safe prescribing practice," said Kenneth E. Bizovi, M.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine, toxicologist and emergency physician.

There are only a few studies on prescription error rates, and none conducted an emergency department. OHSU’s researchers thought that a new prescription computer program, implemented in the hospital’s emergency department March 2000, provided the perfect opportunity to investigate a more effective method of prescribing medications. The team compared standard handwritten prescriptions created before the computer program was implemented with computer-assisted prescriptions created after implementation. The computer program allowed prescibers the ability to choose a drug from a list of available medications. Each prescription contained necessary information, such as dose, quantity, frequency and amount to dispense. This system greatly reduces the possibility of writing a prescription that is incomplete or that contains a formulation that does not exist.

For example, instead of prescribing 500 mg of ibuprofen, which is not an available dose, a physician can look at the doses that do exist and choose from those. This reduces the risk of dosing errors and reduces the need for pharmacists to clarify the prescription.

Patient information, such as name, medical record number and age, were also included in the computer-written prescription. This information, along with the prescription and prescriber’s name, was then printed legibly for a pharmacist to read. All the information becomes part of the patient’s computer medical record instantly. This is an improvement from the standard handwritten format, which uses a prescription pad, a stamp of the patient’s information and the handwritten prescription, creating only one copy of the prescription and requiring a separate entry into the medical record.

The research team hoped the computer-assisted prescription system would create legible prescriptions that decreased errors related to dosing, missing information, incorrect information, legibility and ordering of drugs that weren’t available. These types of errors require a pharmacist to track down the prescriber to clarify before the prescription can be filled. Although this occurs infrequently, it takes extra time from the pharmacist and could lead to increase time to get a prescription filled.

The study proved their theory. With the assistance of the OHSU Hospital Pharmacy, researchers were able to track the notations on the prescription made by pharmacists when making a clarification. Of the 2,326 handwritten prescriptions filled by OHSU Hospital’s Pharmacy before implementation of the computer program, 2.3 percent of them contained errors. The OHSU Hospital Pharmacy received 1,594 computer-assisted prescriptions, only 0.8 percent of which contain errors that required clarification by a pharmacist.

Even some pharmacists commented on the improvement. "They said you could read the prescription, which was great. They are very concerned about legibility," said Bizovi.

"OHSU is at the forefront in using the power of computer technology to ensure patient safety," said Christine Cassel, M.D., dean of the OHSU School of Medicine and a co-author of the 1999 Institute of Medicine report "To Err is Human," which prompted a national dialogue on medical errors. "In the IOM report, experts emphasized that information science can help create systems which deliver patient care of higher quality and also keep costs down because they are more efficient."

OHSU’s ED is one of the few around the country using this prescription program. As more medical clinics acquire computerized systems, Bizovi feels the computer-generated prescriptions will prove to be effective in reducing errors in many medical practices. Since the time of the study the, OHSU Department of Emergency Medicine has integrated patient allergies into the prescription, adding one more safety improvement to its prescribing practices.

Christine Pashley | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ohsu.edu/news/110402scriptImages.html.
http://www.ohsu.edu/

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Oxygen loss in the coastal Baltic Sea is “unprecedentedly severe”
05.07.2018 | European Geosciences Union

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>