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Study highlights medication errors which slip into electronic health records

Medical malpractice comes in many different forms, but medication errors are a particularly common occurrence in hospital settings. Electronic systems have been developed to help reduce medication errors, and they have been a huge help. The use of computerized physician order entry systems has been highly encouraged by the federal government, and nearly all hospitals use these systems.  Unfortunately, there are still too many mistakes made with medication.

According to a recent report by data analytics company Castlight Health and the hospital rating company LeapFrog Group, computer systems designed to address medication errors still fail to catch around 13 percent of potentially fatal drug-related mistakes. The research also shows that roughly 40 percent of the most serious and common errors are able to slip by these systems. 

The recent study adds to the growing body of evidence showing that improvements still need to be made to computerized physician order entry systems. Previous studies have likewise shown that computerized physician order entry systems sometimes fail to detect inaccurate patient information.

Although many patients who are subjected to a medication error will not suffer serious harm, some patients are seriously injured or even die as a result. Here in New York, somewhere between 75 and 100 percent of hospitals have electronic systems which alert physicians to at least half of common, serious prescribing errors.

In our next post, we’ll continue looking at this topic and why it is important for those who have suffered from a medication error to work with experienced legal counsel in their case. 

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