Physicians Get Help in Safe Medication Prescribing

ATLANTA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–To help increase the accuracy and safety of medication prescribing for high-risk, complex patients, McKesson Provider Technologies has announced the rollout of its new Advanced Dosing functionality for Horizon Expert Ordersâ„¢, McKesson’s clinical decision support (CDS) and computerized provider order entry (CPOE) system. The new capability is now offered as part of McKesson’s Patient Care Advantageâ„¢ solution, which drives a “one patient, one care team, one planâ€? approach to care delivery, enabling hospitals to provide safer, more efficient care.

“We are constantly evaluating strategies that will help to eliminate medication errors, particularly in patients with complex dosing requirements,� said Jeff Ferranti, M.D., M.S., director of Pediatric Informatics and Computerized Patient Safety Initiatives at Duke University Hospital, one of the sites implementing this system. “We believe this Advanced Dosing solution has the potential to be of particular relevance in pediatric and neonatal units where specialized approaches to weight and age-based dosing are required and small miscalculations can cause significant problems.�

For the very young, the very old and the very sick in particular, physicians must consider a myriad of complex factors when calculating dosing requirements for their patients. Studies have shown that in pediatrics, the most common type of medication error is a dosing error at the ordering stage.1 Advanced Dosing delivers patient-specific recommendations coupled with sophisticated dose calculators and rounding algorithms tightly tailored to the indication for the medication. The customized dosing guidelines are based on a combination of relevant criteria such as the patient’s age, dosing weight, body surface area, renal function and diagnosis. Providing these guidelines at the time of ordering reduces the cognitive burden on prescribers and replaces the need for other drug reference tools.

The implementation of the Advanced Dosing solution at Duke University Hospital follows its implementation of the Horizon Expert Orders solution more than a year ago. Today more than 2,000 clinicians at Duke, including more than 1,500 physicians, use the system to place more than 10,000 orders daily.

“We are interested in providing our faculty with highly specialized therapy guidance to help them more safely prescribe in an environment that includes a growing number of drugs along with increasing volume and complexity of drug information,� said Leslie Mackowiak, RPh, M.S., CPOE Program Director at Duke University Hospital. Mackowiak has been responsible for the CPOE project at Duke from its start in 2003, and has led efforts to enhance decision support for high-risk patients and high-risk medications.

“This important advance in medication dosing, which was enabled through our partnership with Duke, continues McKesson’s leadership and innovation in the medication safety and clinical decision support arena,� said Duncan James, group president, Health Systems, McKesson Provider Technologies. “Duke’s rapid rollout of clinical decision support and ability to achieve broad physician adoption makes them the ideal partner for this project. This sophisticated clinical decision support is a tool that we believe physicians will value and will benefit all users of Horizon Expert Orders.�

Academic and community hospitals alike are seeing significant reductions in care variability and enhanced patient outcomes by using Horizon Expert Orders to improve upon traditional methods of managing and delivering care. Horizon Expert Orders is currently delivered with a standard set of best practice order sets, which have proven to be successful within the physician workflow. The order sets, delivered within a specialized design tool and updated regularly, cover a full range of specialties, including pediatrics.

As part of Patient Care Advantage, Horizon Clinicals® solutions span virtually all settings of care and are relied upon by more than two million clinicians initiating more than 50 million clinical transactions each week. McKesson has been at the forefront of major breakthroughs in patient safety and was the first to introduce a point-of-care bar-code medication administration solution. Today that solution prevents more than 700,000 medication errors weekly.

Patient Care Advantage is a component of Horizon Advantage, a family of solutions that together solve the biggest issues facing healthcare by uniting the patient, clinicians, pharmacy, payor and employer. McKesson understands the interdependencies among these constituents and delivers solutions that enable health systems to improve patient care quality, operational excellence and financial performance.

About McKesson

McKesson Corporation, currently ranked 18th on the FORTUNE 500, is a healthcare services and healthcare information technology company dedicated to helping its customers deliver high-quality healthcare by reducing costs, streamlining processes, and improving the quality and safety of patient care. McKesson is the longest-operating company in healthcare today, marking its 175th anniversary this year. Over the course of its history, McKesson has grown by providing pharmaceutical and medical-surgical supply management across the spectrum of care; healthcare information technology for hospitals, physicians, homecare and payors; hospital and retail pharmacy automation; and services for manufacturers and payors designed to improve outcomes for patients. For more information, visit

1 Kaushal R, Bates DW, Landrigan C, et al. Medication errors and adverse drug events in pediatric inpatients. JAMA 2001;285:2114–20

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