Implementing EHR Reduces Errors By 58%, Study Shows

By   |  June 16, 2014

Taking your practice's paper medical records digital not only improves efficiency and accuracy it can also significantly decrease the occurrence of errors in your office. That's a pretty compelling reason to make the switch to an electronic record-keeping system.

Electronic medication reconciliation tools, which are a part of the electronic medical records (EMR) and electronic health records (EHR) systems, can help to improve patient safety and reduce medication errors by 58 percent, according to a study released earlier this month by the Boston Children's Hospital.

According to the researchers, using a split screen to display all current medication information on one side and letting providers generate a new list of prospective medications on the other, allows the physicians placing the medication order to clearly see any issues that may arise from adding the new prescriptions to a patient's current list. These issues can include conflicting prescriptions, drug interactions or adverse reactions.

Instances of adverse drug events (ADEs) are responsible for approximately 700,000 emergency room visits and 120,000 inpatient admissions each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These errors that lead to ADEs and their subsequent negative reactions and treatments end up costing a total of $3.5 billion a year.

For the study, researchers looked at the use of an EHR medication tool from November 2011 to June 2012. Their findings showed that the rate of medication reconciliation errors dropped from 5.9 errors per 1000 admissions pre-intervention to 2.5 errors per 1000 admissions post intervention. That's a 58% decrease in provider mistakes involving medication.

The EHR medication tool also helped doctors improve patients' selected course of treatment. For example, providers at the Boston Children's Hospital changed the care and treatment regimens of at least 2,000 elderly patients in order to avoid fractures and falls from medications that are known to cause dizziness.

Has your practice begun implementing an EHR or EMR system? How has it affected the ways in which you care for your patients? Let us know! Click here to learn more about healthcare practices making the switch to electronic medical records.

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