A California mandate that hospitals develop medication-error reduction plans has prompted healthcare facilities in the state to embrace patient safety as a top priority, according to a report by the California HealthCare Foundation. Hospitals' plans for technology and process change go far beyond the statute's minimum requirements, the philanthropy's report said. For example, the 2000 law requires only one error-reduction technology to be in place by January 2005, but hospitals on average intend to deploy three technology tools by then. About half of eligible rural hospitals have invoked an exemption on the potentially costly technology requirements -- "far below the anticipated number," the report said. Only one hospital claimed an exemption because of seismic-related construction; about half of the 344 hospitals studied were eligible. According to plans submitted in 2002, 157 hospitals said they would implement computerized order-entry and medication-alert systems within 15 months. More than 100 planned to automate the medication administration record and 52 were working on bar-code systems at the point of care. Read the report. -- by John Morrissey
Hospitals surpassing Calif. safety mandate: report
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