EHRs reduce medical errors among HIV patients

Electronic health records reduced medical errors in hospitalized HIV patients from 16 percent to 1.1 percent, a 93 percent reduction, according to three studies presented at the ID Week conference in San Diego last week and reported by Medpage Today.

HIV patients admitted to the hospital for unrelated illnesses often suffer medication errors, probably because of a hospital's lack of familiarity with such patients' complex drug regimens, according to the researchers, who studied patient outcomes. Most of the errors examined involved hospital personnel altering medication timing and the frequency of dosages.

Those problems were compounded when the patients assumed that the personnel changed their regimens for a purpose. That perpetuated the errors after discharge, with adverse consequences.

Using EHRs, however, not only reduced those errors, but they also saved the patients and the hospitals an estimated $25,000, according to the researchers.

"Medication errors are commonly made in inpatients receiving antiretroviral therapy," Nesli Basgoz, associate director of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School said, according to MedPage Today. "However, this trio of studies offers hope that using electronic records in combination with clinical education can greatly reduce the prescribing errors."

Keeping HIV patients compliant with their medication routines continues to be a major roadblock in HIV treatment. Other studies have shown that technology such as text messaging and e-reminders can help patients with HIV and other chronic conditions maintain their drug regimens.

To learn more:
- read the MedPage Today article