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Electronic tool helps reduce drug errors among hospitalized children
Date:5/5/2014

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA When children are admitted to the hospital, sometimes the medications they take at home are lost in the shuffle, or they may be given the wrong dose.

Having a system in place at hospital admission to record and review a child's medication history results in fewer errors, potentially avoiding harm to the patient, according to a study to be presented Monday, May 5, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies more than 20,000 health care organizations in the United States, has set a patient safety goal to accurately and completely reconcile medications as patients move through all health care settings. The process involves comparing a patient's current medication regimen against a physician's admission, transfer or discharge orders to identify discrepancies.

Jonathan D. Hron, MD, FAAP, a pediatric hospitalist at Boston Children's Hospital and an instructor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, led a team that implemented a quality improvement project that focused on reducing medication errors due to breakdowns at hospital admission. A group of physicians, pharmacists, nurses and information technology specialists worked together to test, implement and train clinicians to use a tool, which facilitates review of a patient's complete medication history when the child is admitted to the hospital.

The tool, which is part of the hospital's electronic health record system, was piloted in one area of the hospital and gradually was expanded to the entire hospital. "We successfully implemented the medication reconciliation application throughout the hospital, changing the practice of our entire staff," Dr. Hron said.

Using an existing voluntary error reporting tool, Dr. Hron and his colleagues then looked at the number of medication errors that occurred before and after implementation of the
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Contact: Debbie Jacobson
djacobson@aap.org
847-434-7084
American Academy of Pediatrics
Source:Eurekalert

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