Electronic pharmacy claims data helps prevent med errors

The use of electronic pharmacy claims data showed significant potential to prevent medication errors among patients with complex medication regimens, according to a study published at the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

Using data from a previous clinical trial, the researchers identified 70 patients for whom admission medication history (AMH) errors and resultant inpatient order errors had been found and for whom current Surescripts electronic pharmacy claims data (SEPCD) also was available. They had two pharmacists scrutinize this data to determine whether the historic claims data would have helped prevent subsequent errors.

They determined that the claims data probably would have prevented 35 percent of AMH errors and 31 percent of resultant inpatient order errors. When the least severe medication errors were excluded, SEPCD probably would have prevented 47 percent of AMH errors and 61 percent of resultant inpatient order errors. SEPCD probably would have prevented at least one AMH error in 60 percent of patients.

While the researchers had theorized that the claims data would be most useful in preventing errors of omission, the data did not bear this out. However, it did have 2.4 times higher odds of preventing errors of commission of medium to high severity, when compared with three other error types.

Better management of a patient's medications and improved medication adherence are essential to reducing hospital readmissions, according to a report from the Network for Excellence in Health Innovation.

In addition, providing pharmacists with access to a physician's electronic health record can improve communication and workflow between them, which in the past has been done by fax or telephone, according to a study.

To learn more:
- read the abstract