Computerized Order Entry Systems Need Improvement to Avoid Error

side note: As physicians and hospitals continue to adopt new computer systems, care must be taken to avoid new types of errors. In a recent test simulation carried out in 214 U.S. hospitals, more than half of non-fatal errors in physician-entered drug orders failed to trigger a warning. The test simulation allowed hospitals and doctors to identify errors and find ways to improve the system’s warning response. Continued testing and improvement measures such as this are vital if doctors and hospitals are to make use of electronic health records and other new computerized systems. This sort of testing is especially important in avoiding medical malpractice suits and other patient complaints. If your practice or hospital has recently adopted a new computerized system, be sure that it is being thoroughly analyzed and tested for accuracy so that you do not find yourself on the receiving end of a malpractice claim. In addition, if you or your practice shifts to electronic systems, this may, in the future be a way to lower your malpractice insurance costs.

By Pamela Lewis Dolan, amednews staff

Simulations of computerized physician order entry found a large potential for the systems to miss alerting doctors to medication errors, according to a study by the Leapfrog Group, an employer-backed organization that rates hospitals on patient safety.

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