Electronic Prescriptions Show Signs of Reducing Prescription Errors

Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College have been tracking 19 physicians who are transitioning from paper prescriptions to electronic prescriptions and the results are noteworthy.
“Nearly 4,000 prescriptions for more than 2,000 patients were tracked before the switch, 12 weeks after the switch, and a year after the switch. Researchers found that prescription errors dropped by two-thirds, from 36 percent to 12 percent a year after their physicians had switched to electronic record-keeping systems.
Furthermore, the rate of improper abbreviations (i.e. using the outdated “QD” instead of “once daily”) dropped by three-quarters, from 24 percent to 6 percent a year later.”
The doctors who participated in the study are less enthusiastic about the transition. At this point, it’s not clear if their dissatisfaction is due to difficulty adapting to new procedures or faults within the electronic prescription system itself. However, the reduction in errors is a good sign for patients and the healthcare industry as a whole.

Holly Haines