Staggers N, Clark L, Blaz JW, et al. Health Informatics J. 2011;17:209-23.
By enhancing providers' ability to transmit information in a concise and standardized fashion, electronic medical records (EMR) offer great promise for improving handoffs and signouts. However, this analysis of nursing handoffs at an institution with a commercial EMR found that the built-in patient summaries provided inadequate detail and flexibility for clinical signout purposes, forcing nurses to develop workarounds for transmitting key information. This finding reveals the importance of human factors engineering in designing information technology solutions for patient safety problems.
Lee JY, Leblanc K, Fernandes OA, et al. Ann Pharmacother. 2010;44:1887-95.
This study found that 62% of patients transferred between units during a hospitalization had at least one unintentional medication discrepancy. The most common discrepancy was medication omission, independent of which system was used (e.g., paper versus computerized).
Barber ND, Alldred DP, Raynor DK, et al. Qual Saf Health Care. 2009;18:341-346.
This study found a remarkably high incidence of medication errors—nearly two errors per patient—in skilled nursing facilities. Interviews with staff revealed several underlying factors: polypharmacy, overworked staff, poor communication between nursing home staff and physicians, lack of a culture of safety, and lack of reliable systems for medication ordering and administration. Recognition of the high potential for medication errors in nursing facilities has led to the development of toolkits for improving medication safety. A serious medication administration error at a nursing facility is discussed in this AHRQ WebM&M case commentary.
Bails D, Clayton K, Roy K, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2008;34:499-508.
Medication reconciliation—the process of cross-checking patients' medication lists to correct errors and inadvertent omissions—was named a National Patient Safety Goal in 2005. Despite this, no consensus exists yet as to the best method of accomplishing medication reconciliation. This description of the process of implementing medication reconciliation at an urban public hospital includes much information that will be helpful for hospitals undertaking a similar process. The authors detail the barriers faced in developing the system (which was incorporated into an existing computerized order entry system), encouraging use of the system, and improving it based on user feedback. Prior research in this area has demonstrated the effectiveness of pharmacists at carrying out medication reconciliation.
This monthly commentary examines risks associated with mismanagement of IV tubing and ports, discusses a recent article regarding unintended consequences of computerized provider order entry (CPOE), and details recent changes to similarly named medications.
Poon EG, Blumenfeld B, Hamann C, et al. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. 2006;13.
Prior studies have documented that medication errors frequently occur at times of transitions in care such as hospital admission and discharge. Hospitals are now required to have a system for medication reconciliation as a means of averting such errors. This article describes the development, pilot testing, and implementation of a medication reconciliation application within the electronic medical record (EMR) of an integrated health care network. At the time of hospital admission, the system integrates data from the outpatient and inpatient EMR to formulate an accurate medication list, which is used as the basis for medication reconciliation.
Schade CP, Sullivan FM, de Lusignan S, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2006;13:470-5.
The authors discuss why general practitioners' adoption of electronic health records is more prevalent in the United Kingdom than the United States and identify features that might encourage adoption in the US.
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