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Technology key to reducing medication errors

In every field, new technologies and tools are constantly being developed to increase accuracy and efficiency. The medical field is no exception. As more hospitals and clinics adopt widespread use of electronic health records there are additional tools that may also greatly help reduce instances of medication errors.

So-called computerized prescriber order entry is a new technology that can help doctors avoid potentially harmful medical errors when prescribing patients prescription drugs. Medication errors are rampant within the health care field and most often occur in emergency room settings.

Proponents of the new CPOE technology contend it can be extremely useful in helping to eliminate many of the factors that often lead to medical errors. Using CPOE, Doctors would type or select a prescription drug rather than hand write a prescription. Likewise, with the patient's information stored, CPOE prompts doctors of potentially harmful drug interactions and even recommends drugs based on a patient's test results.

The full benefits of CPOE technology are demonstrated by the program's clinical decision support ability. Armed with an abundant wealth of stored data, the technology can be an invaluable resource for doctors who can immediately access information related to drug dosing and interaction information. Additionally, based on the patient's health history and current condition, the program prompts doctors by suggesting effective medications as well as alerting doctors of potentially dangerous ones.

While some doctors may be reluctant to adopt new CPOE technology, its use combined with EHR can greatly reduce instances of medication errors.

Source: EHR Intelligence, "Clinical decision tools help emergency rooms reduce drug errors," Jennifer Bresnick, Nov. 30, 2012

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