Study Shows Pharmaceutical Errors for Handwritten and E-prescriptions the Same


These days, everything has gone electronic: banking, shopping, and even important documents are being transmitted through the internet. A recent study, however, of e-prescriptions (medical prescriptions sent electronically) shows that technology may not be the answer for preventing pharmaceutical errors in Florida.

Medical News Today reported on a study from the Journal of American Medical Information Association , in which Karen Nanji, M.D. evaluated over 3,800 e-prescriptions from pharmacy chains in Florida, Arizona and Massachusetts. The study found that the 11.7 percent of the prescriptions had mistakes, which researchers note is no better than the rate of error in handwritten prescriptions. The numbers show that a majority of the errors – 60.7 percent – were omissions of frequency, dosage and duration. Notably, there were about 190,000 physicians last year who were e-prescribing.

The results of this study are quite disappointing, considering that doctors have received Medicare bonuses for e-prescribing and that e-prescribing was supposed to save money and prevent pharmaceutical errors. Technology alone cannot ensure the health and safety of our loved ones. Other measures need to be taken to prevent these errors.

Pharmaceutical errors can lead to dangerous, even fatal, results. If you or someone you know has been injured due to a prescription error, consult with an attorney.