Sunday, February 28, 2010

E-prescriptions more reliable than handwritten ones

From CNET News:
Here's one for the important-but-obvious files.

New research at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York finds that medical professionals writing prescriptions by hand are seven times more likely to make errors than those using electronic systems.

Researchers looked at prescriptions written by health care providers at 12 community practices in the Hudson Valley region of New York. They compared the number and severity of the found errors between 15 providers who wrote prescriptions by hand and 15 who used a commercial system that provides dosing recommendations and checks for drug allergies, duplicates, and combination effects.

The researchers inspected 3,684 paper-based prescriptions at the start of the study and 3,848 paper-based and electronic prescriptions written one year later. After one year, the percentage of errors for providers using the electronic system dropped from 42.5 to 6.6. For those writing prescriptions by hand, the percentage of errors held almost steady, increasing slightly from 37.3 percent to 38.4 percent. ...more

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