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Computerized System Almost Completely Cuts Medical Errors

Most errors eliminated five years after CPOE implementation; no new types of errors detected

TUESDAY, July 21, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Over five years, a computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system can reduce medical errors (MEs), with no new type of errors detected, according to a study published online July 14 in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics.

M. Sanchez Cuervo, Pharm.D., from the Ramon y Cajal Hospital in Madrid, and colleagues conducted a prospective analytical study on the impact of implementation of a CPOE system. The authors analyzed the number of MEs in a pre-implementation phase, an implementation phase, and a post-implementation phase within a hematology department. Data were included for 150 prescriptions in the pre- and post-implementation phases, for 114 and 82 patients, respectively.

The researchers found that CPOE implementation correlated with a decrease in the number of MEs. The total number of MEs decreased from 236.8 to 10.9 per 100 patients in the pre- to post-implementation periods, representing an absolute risk reduction of 36.2. There was a decrease in the percentage of prescriptions with an ME, from 37.5 to 1.2 percent (P < 0.001). Most MEs were eliminated five years after CPOE implementation; there was a decrease in the number of remaining errors and there were no new types of ME.

"The CPOE system almost completely eliminated MEs with antineoplastic drugs in the hematology department," the authors write. "No new types of MEs were observed once physicians had become accustomed to using the system."

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