Study: E-prescribing doesn't reduce errors

by Grant Huang on Jul 11, 2011

Photo by Grant HuangPrescription mistakes are not lower with electronic prescribing systems, according to a new study that appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Information Association July 3. About 11.7% of 3,850 e-prescriptions analyzed in the 2008 data contained an error, and 4% of these were significant enough to cause a "serious adverse event." Examples include missing drug doses, durations and frequency.

"This is consistent with the literature on manual handwritten prescription error rates," notes the authors of the study in the online abstract. "The number, type and severity of errors varied by computerized prescribing system, suggesting that some systems may be better at preventing errors than others," they also note.

Beyond variation in e-Rx systems, there are a few shortcomings with the data that are worth noting: It was limited to e-prescriptions from three pharmacy chains in Florida, Massachusetts and Arizona, and all came from a four-week period.

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