Inconsistent information relayed through a computer physician-order entry system can lead to errors and risks to patient safety, according to research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Despite standardized data formats, CPOE systems allow providers to enter free text. Inconsistencies in the standard messages and free text messages can lead to problems, according to the report. Researchers studied pharmacists at a tertiary-care facility over four months. Of 55,992 new prescriptions, 532 contained inconsistent messaging, with drug dosage being the most common problem. Certain medications were more likely than others to be associated with errors, according to the report.
About 20% of the errors could have resulted in harm, the researchers said. Improving the usability of automated systems might help to reduce that risk, they concluded.