Electronic Records Contribute to One-Third of Pediatric Medication Errors
A new study suggests pediatric patients suffer when electronic tools are not customized for younger patients.
To identify the risk of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) to young patients, authors of a study published in Health Affairs looked at 9,000 patient safety reports reported between the years 2012 and 2017. Patient safety reports are voluntary reports filed by healthcare providers with first-hand knowledge of an injury or near-injury caused by medical mistake.
These reports that offer insight into unsafe medical practices. In this case, study authors were looking at safety reports related to pediatric patients.
While we think of an EHR as a digital version of a paper medical chart, an EHR is also the tool used to record health information, provide data like dosing recommendations, and record standard information like weight and blood pressure. At present, there is no overarching rule or regulation to ensure that EHR vendors create standardized tools for use only with pediatric patients.
Why is This Important?
In this study, researchers found that 36 percent of the 9,000 reports analyzed resulted from issues with EHR usability. From the design of the screen interface, to the calculation of dosages, health technology that is not designed for its patient is bound to cause injury.
Study authors identified the key problems that lead to medical mishap with EHRs, which were system and data feedback and mistakes made due to the visual display of the device. The most common pediatric medical error associated with EHRs is improper medication dosing.
Of the medication errors reviewed for this study, almost 18 percent required further intervention to avoid injury, about four percent caused temporary harm, about a third did no harm, and almost 46 percent had unknown outcomes.
This study provides valuable insight into the medical mistakes that plague physicians of young patients. Patient safety reports represent only a small portion of the true number of medication and other medical errors made on a daily basis. While some cause no harm, others can cause devastating injury or death to patients of all ages.
If you suffer injury due to medical mistake or negligence, speak with an experienced injury attorney.
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