Is Digital Drug Ordering Causing More Medical Errors?

In a previous blog, we talked about how medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the country. One major factor in that number is the number of medication errors that occur within hospitals. While many hospitals use digital drug orders that have been shown to reduce the number of medication errors, computer systems are still failing to catch as much as 13 percent of fatal medical mistakes.

Digital drug ordering, also known as “computerized physician order entry” (CPOE), was designed to increase efficiency and address the problem of medication errors. However, a recent study shows that written prescriptions that are then entered into electronic ordering is a safer method, as systems are known to flag 9 out of 10 possible mistakes. Worse, approximately 79 percent of hospitals use CPOE due to a stimulus bill passed in 2009 requiring hospitals to use it in order to receive funding.

More Must Be Done to Prevent Medication Errors Within Hospitals

Thousands of people die each year due to medication errors, which can include the following:

  • Patients are administered the wrong drug
  • Patients are given incorrect dosages
  • Patients are given medications they are allergic to
  • Patients are given combinations of drugs which cause adverse effects

Whether CPOE may have been implemented to avoid prescription errors caused by illegible handwriting or simply to help doctors skip a step, there are still medication errors present. If hand-written prescriptions that are electronically logged is a safer method, then hospitals should go back to what works. Otherwise, perhaps there need to be more effective systems in place and more fail-safes for when medication errors do happen.

Stanley A. Davis is a Nashville personal injury attorney that fights for those who have been harmed by medical malpractice. He works hard to make sure you have what you need to recover from your situation.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies.” Psalm 103:2-3