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Can EMR Prevent Medical Errors?

We have all heard about how many patients are killed or maimed by their seemingly trustworthy physicians. According to a blog on CommonSenseMD, the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care states that the five most common medical errors are:

  1. medication prescribing
  2. laboratory testing
  3. misfiling of medical records
  4. medication dispensing, and
  5. not responding promptly (or at all) to abnormal test results

Many of these are caused by human error, typically simple mistakes which could have been avoided by cross-checking information. So, can EMR systems make these mistakes obsolete?

Well, perhaps not completely. There have been instances where EMR systems have incorrectly pulled up antibiotic information and some have suggested that there have even been deaths attributable to errors perpetrated by EMR systems. But one can only hope that with time, EMR systems will result in fewer medical errors and consequently patient harm.

Thoughts? Please post your comments below.

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