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Dropping the Pen Helps Doctors Reduce Prescription Errors

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There is a definitely a push towards moving hospital records from paper to digital form. This push may actually be very important, considering that researchers recently found that when doctors stopped using pens to order medications the number of medical errors dropped dramatically.

The study examined medical errors at two Australian hospitals before and after the implementation of an e-prescribing system for medications. The system not only monitored a patient's other medications, but also alerted the doctor of any medication interferences and then sent the prescription to the pharmacy electronically. The results were impressive and reduced prescription errors by up to 60%.

Currently, the number of patients that experience a hospital error is about 1 in 7. With the use of a digital presription system, experts say that we could drastically reduce this statistic by preventing dangeorus medication interactions or the potential for pharmacists to make mistakes in reading doctors' handwriting. However, hospitals are apparently reluctant to implement the system because it is costly and painful to implement.