Conference Focuses on Utilizing Technology to Reduce Medical Errors
Computer technology could help reduce and eventually eliminate medical errors, according to health professionals gathering at a three-day conference in San Diego this week, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Coordinated by Gartner Inc., a Stamford, Conn.-based technology consulting group, the eHealthcare Summit 2001, which runs through today, focused on computer technology as a "panacea for a decidedly old-school health care system." Referring to a 1999 Institute of Medicine report that found that as many as 98,000 Americans die each year from medical errors, conference delegates said computer technology could be used to notify physicians of "omissions and oversights" and to "flag" adverse drug reactions. However, the Union-Tribune reports that any technological advances may be "useless" if physicians do not use them. Only 37% of physicians use the Internet, according to a survey by eMarketer. However, Dr. John Lumpkin, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, noted that most information systems have been designed around finance and inventory needs. While doctors and hospitals have been "reluctant" to spend funds on updating information systems, Lumpkin said that physicians likely will use a system that addresses "patient-care issues" (Fong, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.