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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 195-199

The role of health information technology in reducing preventable medical errors and improving patient safety


1 Department of Health Information Technology, School of Health Management and Information Sciences, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
2 Department of Health Information Technology, School of Health Management and Information Sciences, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
3 Health Management and Economics Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Mahtab Kasaei
Department of Health Information Technology, School of Health Management and Information Sciences, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan
Iran
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2347-9019.130378

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Medical errors have become an increasing public concern among policy-makers, healthcare providers and experts. Medical errors in the U.S. hospitals and healthcare institutions are the third leading cause of death and almost 98,000 people annually lose their lives in this way. According to healthcare and health industry leaders, using information technology enhances patient safety by preventing medical errors, assessment errors and surveillance system with rapid response and reduces the risk of harm created after the fact. In this paper, medical errors are investigated, the role of information technology in reducing and preventing medical errors is investigated, and recommendations are presented regarding the use of information technology for prevention and reduction of medical errors in healthcare institutions. Scientific databases and electronic journal citations were searched to identify articles that discussed the role of health information technology in reducing preventable medical errors and improving patient safety. We used reference tracking and citation methods and searched by following keywords: Information technology, medical errors, computerized provider order entry (CPOE), and clinical decision support system (CDSS). A total of 33 related articles were included in this study from the 609 articles initially obtained from the searches. Nature of medical errors occurring in healthcare organizations includes medication prescribing, treatment, procedures, diagnostic and administrative errors. Among systems and techniques that are used to prevent and reduce medical errors, CPOE, CDSS, EHR (Electronic Health Record), BCMA (Barcode Medication Administration) and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) are well known. Studies show that in reducing errors, and improving quality of care, CPOE, CDSS and EHR are more effective than other technologies. The integration of CPOE with CDSS, also likely leads to a further reduction of medical errors. CPOE covers all three healthcare quality problems (low use, misuse and overuse). Furthermore, EHR increases the effectiveness of healthcare and reduces medical errors through reminders, alerts and internal intelligent capabilities.


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