Sydney: Prescribing errors can be slashed by 66 percent with the introduction of electronic methods in hospitals.
University of New South Wales (UNSW) researchers reviewed 3,291 patient records and looked at both procedural (incomplete, unclear medication orders) and clinical (wrong dose, wrong drug) errors, and rated the potential severity of the errors (minor to serious).
Researchers found that procedural prescribing error rates fell by more than 90 percent, and the most serious prescribing errors declined by 44 percent, the journal Public Library of Science reports.
"The study provides persuasive evidence of the value of commercial e-prescribing systems to significantly and substantially reduce a range of prescribing errors," said study leader Johanna Westbrook, professor from UNSW's Australian Institute of Health Innovation.
The six percent reduction was far beyond anything anticipated. Previous attempts to reduce such errors, had resulted in an improvement of only around four percent, Westbrook said, according to a UNSW statement.
"Prescribing errors are among the top hazards faced in a hospital setting," said Ric Day, professor of pharmacology, who helped implement a commercial e-prescribing system at Sydney's St Vincent's Hospital.
"Most of this technology was developed in the US with the big medical centres designing their own customised systems," Westbrook said.
First Published: Friday, February 03, 2012, 11:40