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

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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  • 10 years ago... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by goathumper ( 1284632 ) on Monday February 20, 2012 @10:04AM (#39098897)

    I worked on a hospital system 11 years ago that would provide this sort of cross-referencing functionality. It always baffled me why their use wasn't widespread. Back then there were (evidently) no smartphones, etc, so the whole idea of having barcodes on patients' wrists was revolutionary, as was the concept of having computer systems perform the drug-to-pathology matching and medication interactions analyses.

    From what I learned working on that project, this sort of system can lower the costs of operation, staffing, and evidently lower risk inside a hospital. Does anyone out there know why they've not seen widespread adoption (besides the "obvious" tin-foil hat doctor-nurse-conspiracy theories)?

  • If the doctor could log in and select the medication and have the pharmacy read the prescription it would, on it's own, prevent a lot of errors that happen from misreading prescriptions. On top of that, if there is something wrong that requires a specialist then the patient is in a fun place where no one doctor knows what all medications are prescribed so a system that did any sort of automated conflict checking could save a lot of lives.

    The current system is far from perfect, I once almost lost my job because some pharmacist misread my prescription for Singulair (Asthma med) and gave me an antipsychotic instead and for a week I couldn't be motivated to do anything.

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

    by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Monday February 20, 2012 @10:46AM (#39099229)

    Very much this. Doctors are notorious for being stuck in their ways, especially as concerns administration and computerization. My step-mother actually just quit her administration job at a small practice a few days ago because they were still doing everything on paper; she said she hadn't worked in an office with that minimal level of technology in almost 20 years.

    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.

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

    by genjix ( 959457 ) on Monday February 20, 2012 @12:09PM (#39099941)

    3 years ago I damaged my elbow. I went to see the hospital, and the nurse being too busy to hear my full story hurried me along telling me it was sprained. I knew what a sprained elbow felt like and this wasn't it, but I shrugged my shoulders and assumed it would get better. It's been aching on and off over the last few years.

    A physician on the bitcoin forums was offering medical advice for a bitcoin. I typed up my full story and sent it to him. He wrote me back a long response that quite literally scared the crap out of me into seeing a doctor. I took his write-up to my General Practioner and she right away knew what was wrong and referred me to all the relevant specialists.

    That guy on the bitcoin forums literally saved me from crippling injury in a few years time. Had I not spoke to him, it may have been too late before I got it checked out. I always kept putting it off since I'm so busy and it didn't seem like a big deal.

    Thank you bitcoin forum guy.

Vitamin C deficiency is apauling.