In Pennsylvania, HIT contributed to 889 medication-error events in first half of 2016

Use of health IT was a contributing factor in hundreds of medication-error events at Pennsylvania healthcare facilities in the first half of 2016, according to the annual report of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority.

According to the report, health IT was a factor that contributed to 889 medication-error events between Jan. 1, 2016, and June 3, 2016, at Pennsylvania-based health organizations.

The most frequently reported medication errors included:

•    Dose omission
•    Wrong dose
•    Extra dose

The report shows that HIT-related errors occurred at every step of the medication use process. A majority of the errors affected the patient. Healthcare facilities reported the most commonly used systems involved were the computerized prescriber order entry and the pharmacy systems. High-alert medications, such as opioids, insulin and anticoagulants, were among the top drug categories involved in a majority of the events.

"We can examine HIT system failures for both human and system errors. Conducting a root-cause analysis when errors occur, developing a strong culture of safety in which workers feel empowered to report unsafe conditions and routine HIT system surveillance are just a few approaches to reducing HIT-related medication errors. We can also learn from systems that work well," said Ellen Deutsch, MD, medical director for the authority.

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