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QUALITY: Rise reported in medication errors

There’s a new report from The US Pharmacopeia about medication errors in 2002. It’s not clear from the press release but this article in iHealthbeat points out that  there’s been a 31% increase in hospitals (to over 480) reporting and a whopping 82% increase in errors being reported since 2001.  The total errors reported was over 192,000. But of course just because they are now being reported (anonymously) doesn’t mean that they weren’t happening before!

Of course almost all of these errors are corrected quickly or prove of no lasting harm to patients, but 1.7% of them did or even required intervention to save patient lives.  Interestingly more than 10% of the errors came from mistakes in computer input!  This suggests that CPOE is not necessarily the cure-all suggested by its vendors, or at least requires some further safeguards!  For more information look at this powerpoint.

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