Medication Errors Cut in Half Through Use of Computer Data Entry

Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association reveals that medication errors were cut by 48% in 2008 through the use of computerized provider order entry (CPOE) system. According to Medscape, “The Institute of Medicine estimated in 2007 that the average hospital patient is subject to 1 medication error each day. Dr. Radley and colleagues sought to provide a baseline national estimate of how many medication errors were averted when hospitals adopted CPOE. Rather than hand writing the name of a medication, which can be misinterpreted, CPOE allows clinicians to choose the medicine and dose from drop-down menus aided by automatic prompts that flag potential harmful drug interactions. The researchers focused on 2008, which is the year before Congress provided $20 billion to help build a national health information technology infrastructure aimed at improving safety and health care quality.
Dr. Radley and colleagues performed a meta-analysis of published studies to estimate the benefit of CPOE systems. They calculated that CPOE use dropped medication error rates by approximately 48%.”