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Medicine

Study Says E-prescription Systems Would Save At Least 50k Lives a Year 134

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-a-green-pill dept.
First time accepted submitter shirleylopez1177 writes "Approximately 50,000–100,000 people die in America because of preventable adverse events (PAE). These PAEs or medical errors are among the leading causes of death, ranking higher than breast cancer, AIDS and motor vehicle accidents in terms of the number of fatalities caused. As a response to the problem of medication errors, e-prescription systems have emerged. Few studies have looked at how e-prescribing systems compare to traditional systems in their potential to reduce medical errors. However, a study from Australia published two weeks ago in PLoS Medicine examined the impact of e-prescription systems on medication errors in the inpatient setting and demonstrated that these systems are indeed effective."
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Study Says E-prescription Systems Would Save At Least 50k Lives a Year

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  • NHS e-Prescribing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 20, 2012 @10:13AM (#39098967)

    Here in the UK, system like this are in use in both General Practice and in Hospitals. I worked for a company for seven years that supplied software that did precisely this to NHS and private hospitals both here an abroad. I wonder how the stats compare between the UK and the USA in this regard?

  • by fph il quozientatore (971015) on Monday February 20, 2012 @10:17AM (#39099005) Homepage
    How dare you replace a competent, well-trained, warm-hearted human with an emotionless machine?
  • Re:10 years ago... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 20, 2012 @10:42AM (#39099187)

    inertia.

    No - cost.

    Hospitals have strict budgets and have to penny pinch. The software vendors charge a ludicrous amount for their software - so much that the hospital admins cringe and have a very hard time finding the money. And with these hard times, hospital revenues are in a huge slump - all those unemployed people have lost their health insurance and therefore can't pay their hospital bills - which the hospitals eat much of it. (COBRA is obscenely expensive and if you have a "preexisting" condition, you can't get cheaper insurance or any insurance for that matter; so millions of people go without even when they can afford health insurance.)

    To head off the "software vendors have to worry about lawsuits and that's why they charge so much!"

    No they don't. They have no more product liability costs than any other company and as far as FDA requirements, they've actually reduced some of the regulation. [fda.gov]

  • Re:10 years ago... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by timeOday (582209) on Monday February 20, 2012 @12:08PM (#39099939)

    Especially now as doctor's "margins" are getting thinner due to Medicare cutbacks and such, I'm sure this trend will continue. New tech costs money, and medical tech, even on the administration end, is ridiculously expensive.

    I think the opposite: private practices are being driven out of business by large hospitals [nytimes.com] that work closely with insurers (including digital records), and more doctors are becoming employees instead of small business owners. In other words, price pressure is asserting itself and forcing consolidation, like with every other industry. Good or bad? I'm not entirely sure. We certainly do need to cut costs. There won't be many mom-and-pop shops that refuse to move to computer records any more.

  • Re:10 years ago... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by demonlapin (527802) on Monday February 20, 2012 @01:01PM (#39100529) Homepage Journal
    I'm a physician whose hospital just tried to push all orders onto electronic order entry - not just medications but diet orders, PT/OT/nursing orders, everything. It got massive pushback. Why?

    Most doctors see patients at more than one hospital. Many use an electronic system at their clinic. They have to remember five or six usernames, passwords, and different ways of doing things, any one of which is likely to change at any time due to an upgrade, and some of which they may not use for months (as an example, many surgeons maintain privileges at a wide variety of hospitals to be able to suit patients - but they may not operate at a given one for two or three months at a time). The interface is often clunky. And they're SLOW. Paper is FAST.

    Great example from a committee meeting last week: one endocrinologist is part of a group that has taken over management of difficult diabetic inpatients. Most of them have Medicare, or Medicaid, or nothing at all. From his perspective, he's getting paid very little for his work. On paper, he can check blood sugars, write an order, and move on to the next patient in about two minutes. On computer, the same process takes about five minutes. Thirty patients an hour versus twelve... and so he said that if he's forced to do electronic, he will just stop doing the difficult diabetic management. It's no longer worth his time.

    And, as others have said, these systems are fantastically expensive, and so while there are some savings to be reaped they are mostly taken by the vendor and the increased IT expenses. And then your vendor decides to EOL your software... what do you do then? Buy their replacement product, because it's a lot cheaper to stay with the same vendor? Buy a new whole-hospital system from another vendor? We're wrestling with that now.

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