iHealth & Technology
Computerized physician order entry systems combined with computer-based clinical decision support systems at long-term care facilities could improve medication safety for residents, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.
In the study, researchers added decision support systems to existing CPOE systems at long-term care facilities and tracked 47,997 medication orders over one year. During that time, 9,414 alerts were triggered, most often warning of central nervous system side effects from medication.
The overall impact of the alerts was modest, but the alerts significantly affected therapeutic management decisions related to warfarin prescriptions or central nervous system side effects, such as prompting a physician to order recommended laboratory tests or cancel a prescribed drug. According to the study, there would be 115 opportunities per month to improve medication safety in a nursing home with 100 residents by implementing a computer decision support system in conjunction with CPOE.
The researchers recommend that nursing homes put in place system-level approaches to reduce medication errors for residents. In addition, the authors said CPOE and computer decision support systems must be further refined for the long-term care setting to increase medication safety for residents, some of whom are at an increased risk for experiencing adverse drug events (Judge et al., Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, July/August, 2006).