How EHRs contributed to a 36% medication error rate

Researchers conducted a study analyzing how the usability of EHRs contributed to medication errors in pediatric patients and found 36 percent of patients had an EHR usability issue that led to a medication error, according to a study published in Health Affairs.

For the study, researchers analyzed 9,000 pediatric patient safety reports that related to EHRs.

Researchers found about 82 percent of pediatric patients found system feedback contributed to record usability. About 10 percent found visual display affected usability, six percent found data entry affected usability and about 2 percent found workflow support affected usability. About 85 percent reported importer dosage was the most common medication error.

To prevent future errors, the authors indicated the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology could incorporate safety as part of the certification criteria for pediatric EHRs us. They also recommend vendors or system providers use "rigorous test-case scenarios" based on real physician tasks to better evaluate the function of the records, along with the Joint Commission assessing EHR safety as a hospital accreditation program.

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