TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Drug-Error Risk at Hospitals Tied to Computers

Re: Drug-Error Risk at Hospitals Tied to Computers
Thu, 10 Mar 2005 22:41:59 -0500

Monty Solomon wrote:

> By Scott Allen, Globe Staff | March 9, 2005

> Hospital computer systems that are widely touted as the best way to
> eliminate dangerous medication mix-ups can actually introduce many
> errors, according to the most comprehensive study of hazards of the
> new technology. The researchers, who shadowed doctors and nurses in a
> Philadelphia hospital for four months, found that some patients were
> put at risk of getting double doses of their medicine while others get
> none at all.

> Doctors at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania identified
> 22 types of mistakes they have made because of difficulty using
> computerized drug-ordering, such as failing to stop old medications
> when adding new ones or forgetting that the computer automatically
> suspended medications after surgery. Some doctors interviewed for the
> study said they made computer-related mistakes several times a week.

> The findings underscore the complexity of improving safety in US
> hospitals, where the Institute of Medicine estimates that errors of
> all kinds kill 44,000 to 98,000 patients a year.

> The University of Pennsylvania researchers stressed that computers
> hold great potential, but said many systems are overhyped and hard to
> use, prompting one Los Angeles hospital to turn off its drug-ordering
> system altogether.


Some of those problems are the result of poor design and/or programming as well as poor testing and quality


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