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EHR Improves Patient Safety

Posted by EHR Analyst on Sun, Dec 27, 2009 @ 09:39 PM

In a study published recently by "The Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association", computerized provider order entry (CPOE) has been shown to improve patient safety by reducing medication errors and subsequent adverse drug events (ADEs).

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has long been a proponent of electronic health records (EHRs), making the link between EHR implementation and potential improvements in quality and safety.

CPOE systems are computer applications that allow direct, electronic entry of orders for medications, laboratory, radiology, referral, and procedures. CPOE systems for ordering medications are sometimes called electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) systems. CPOE systems are often implemented with clinical decision support (CDS) alerts to guide ordering.  Early research demonstrated the benefits of CPOE/CDS systems in reducing medication errors by as much as 55–86% and subsequent adverse drug events (ADEs), although the latter occur less frequently and are more difficult to identify.

Frequency of errors declined from 18.2% to 8.2%-a reduction in adjusted odds of 70% (OR: 0.30; 95% CI 0.23 to 0.40). The largest reductions were seen in adjusted odds of errors of illegibility (97%), use of inappropriate abbreviations (94%) and missing information (85%). There was a 57% reduction in adjusted odds of errors that did not cause harm (potential ADEs) (OR 0.43; 95% CI 0.38 to 0.49). The reduction in the number of errors that caused harm (preventable ADEs) was not statistically significant, perhaps due to few errors in this category. 

Tags: EHR Software, EHR Implementation