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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

The impact of a closed-loop electronic prescribing and administration system on prescribing errors, administration errors and staff time: a before-and-after study.

Franklin BD, O'Grady K, Donyai P, et al. Quality & safety in health care. 2007;16:279-84.

Measures that have been proposed to reduce the incidence of medication errors target prescribing safety (e.g., computerized provider order entry) or safety in administering medications (e.g., bar coding or automated dispensing). While each of these individual measures has been shown to decrease errors, as yet few systems "close the loop" by integrating safety measures for prescribing and administering medications. Utilizing an electronic system that incorporated CPOE, automated dispensing, bar coding, and an electronic medication record, this single-institution study demonstrated a significant reduction in both prescribing errors and administration errors. However, staff time spent on medication-related tasks increased. While the study results are promising, one caveat is that the system was not used for high-risk drugs such as anticoagulants or intravenous medications.