(BOSTON) -- Electronic prescribing systems are capable of the same mistakes made by manual systems, a study from the Massachusetts General Hospital found.
After looking at 3,850 computer-generated prescriptions submitted to a pharmacy chain in three U.S. states over a month period, researchers found that nearly 12 percent contained a shocking total of 466 errors. One-third of these errors could be considered potentially harmful. The researchers reported, however, that none of the errors was life-threatening.
The study authors said the most common types of drugs related to the computer prescriptions were nervous system drugs (27 percent), cardiovascular drugs, (13.5 percent) and anti-inflammatories/antibiotics (12.3 percent).
Authors of the study, published in the online Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, concluded that although health care providers are increasingly adopting electronic health records and prescribing devices, the use of "a computerized prescribing system without comprehensive functionality and processes in place to ensure meaningful use the system does not decrease medication errors."
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