Electronic Prescriptions Reduce Medical Mistakes

Most people are familiar with jokes about the poor nature of doctors' handwriting. Although we often make light of the situation, poor handwriting can often lead to serious consequences. A new study and procedure hold promise to reduce accidents associated with handwritten prescriptions and hopefully place patients more at ease.

Study Results

A recent study performed at Weill Cornell Medical College tracked prescriptions of four doctors in New York, some using electronic prescriptions and others still using a paper method of writing prescriptions.

The study found that there were 37 errors for every 100 prescriptions when the doctor wrote the prescription by hand. When using the electronic software, however, there were only around 7 errors for every 100 prescriptions. These results clearly demonstrate that the use of electronic prescriptions is much more beneficial to clients as well as more efficient for doctors.

Electronic prescriptions allow a doctor to click boxes for the type of medicine prescribed and type in specific directions. Doctors can than either send the prescription to a local pharmacy, or print the subscription in their office so the patient can take the prescription with them.

Dangers Associated with Prescription Errors

The dangers for an incorrect subscription can be minimal or more severe. Some patients experience diarrhea, where others may die because of an incorrect subscription.

The more serious cases are often kept quiet by providers who settle with clients and cover up the incident. One serious example, however, happened to a pregnant woman picking up her antibiotic. She instead, was given an abortion drug. The child luckily survived, but may sustain health problems.

Obstacles in Implementation

The course of action is clear: all hospitals should switch to and require the use of electronic prescriptions. Some obstacles, however, stand in their way including the upfront costs of implementing the system. These costs can be substantial, making the system a lower priority for hospitals.

Remedies Available to Those Injured

When a doctor prescribes a wrong medication, or does not practice caution when writing a prescription, injured parties are not without remedy. A patient who suffers from another's lack of care is able to seek compensation within the legal system.

Experienced medical malpractice attorneys know the standard of care that doctors and care providers must provide and work to protect their clients. They fight for compensation for the client for medical bills, money for missed time at work, and even compensation for pain and suffering. These attorneys sympathize with their clients and do everything in their power to make the client feel whole once again.