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Sunday, January 16, 2005

Relying on the computer is not the whole answer

An interesting report from the USA shows what we all know - simply putting in computers in not the answer.

A recent study found that medication errors associated with computer entry were growing steadily, and that 'mistakes associated with computer entry were the fourth leading cause of error in 2003, compared with the seventh leading cause in 2000'. See for the story.

The report is worth noting given that NPfIT now seem to be promoting patient safety as their number one reason for the whole programme.

As the report notes:
- simply automating processes does not automatically improve patient safety
- simply installing a computer entry system is not sufficient to reduce and prevent medical errors
- IT systems must be fully integrated throughout the clinical processes
- there must be enough time and resources to be devoted to staff training.
- all computer entry systems need to have extensive pilot testing to make sure that the systems do not perpetuate errors found in current systems.


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