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Computerized Ordering Systems & Causes of Medication Errors, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 401

Essay

New trends (and laws) regarding the recording and transfer of documentation within the healthcare industry have precipitated increased utilization of computer-based ordering.  Such ordering might include laboratory or other tests, treatment plans, and medication.  Computerized ordering of tests and procedures can help organize, standardize, and expedite these functions.  It is however within the field of ordering medication that computerized systems might be the most valuable in terms of overall patient care.

In a recent study, Smith et al. (2006) found that the transition from paper to computerized prescription ordering reduced inappropriate or non-preferred medication dispensing to elderly patients within an HMO. Computerizing the process of medication prescribing can reduce the possibility of synergistic reactions between medications and the over-prescribing of medications within the same class (such as pain killers).  Another advantage of eventually linking all medication prescribing together is being able to avert “drug-seekers” who may go to various doctors and pharmacies in order to obtain excessive narcotic or other drugs for recreational use or to sell.

The disadvantages to having patient records computerized are twofold.  The first problem is that doctor’s hands would be tied in cases of power outages.  This would be infrequent and most likely not statistically significant.  The second potential liability would be in the possibility of “hacking” into confidential patient records.  Given this serious concern, exceptional security protocols must be used for this kind of information.

Causes of Medication Errors

Medication errors are a serious concern for all healthcare professionals.  A Medication error can cause or potentially cause harm to patients.  There are two basic causal factors for medication errors; Prescribing errors and Dispensing errors.  In their article Agyemang and White (2010) focus on the dispensing errors often made by nurses.  They describe the essential “5 Rights” of administering medications to patients.  They are; Right medication, Right dose, Right time, Right route, and Right patient.  These “rights” are paramount, and if any one becomes a “wrong” patients might suffer.

References

(Agyemang R White A 2010 Medication errors: types, causes and impact on nursing practice.)Agyemang, R., & White, A. (2010). Medication errors: types, causes and impact on nursing practice. British Journal of Nursing, 19(6), 380-385. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.apollolibrary.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=4&hid=107&sid=d4a1a734-58a5-4f07-9432-fd0c612dc213%40sessionmgr113

(Smith D Perrin N Feldstein A 2006 Computerized drug alerts when ordering medications reduce inappropriate prescribing for the elderly)Smith, D., Perrin, N., & Feldstein, A. (2006). Computerized drug alerts when ordering medications reduce inappropriate prescribing for the elderly. AHRQ Research Activities, November, 10-11. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.apollolibrary.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=3&hid=107&sid=d4a1a734-58a5-4f07-9432-fd0c612dc213%40sessionmgr113

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