Study: Inconsistent records in CPOE systems cause medication errors

Like anyone else, if physicians are given the chance to record things in their own words, the way they do it will vary widely. Unfortunately, when they do this within a computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system, this can cause prescription errors, according to a new study.

The study, which appears in the Archives of Internal Medicine, looked at the work produced by pharmacists at a tertiary care center over a four-month period. Like other CPOE systems, theirs included not only standardized menus, but areas where physicians could enter free text messages. While CPOE systems generally lower prescription error rates, these fields for free text were another story.

Of the 55,992 new prescriptions issues, researchers found 532 with inconsistent entry of key medication data. Of those mistakes, about 20 percent could have caused harm to patients, they said.

To learn more about the study:
- read this iHealthBeat piece

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