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The Detroit Medical Center Pioneers New EMR System Preventing Medication Mistakes
Date:3/12/2009

checks when the medication is ordered, dispensed and then given to the patient. The highly reliable DMC verification system is based on a proven formula for preventing medication errors: "Right patient, right drug, right dose, right time and right route."

In May 2007, the DMC's paperless record-keeping system, powered by Kansas City, MO-based Cerner Corporation, became fully operational in all 8 hospitals. "This is a significant step forward in delivering better care to hospital patients," said Dr. Leland Babitch, Chief Medical Information Officer at the DMC.

Babitch said there is also a great deal of evidence to show that EMR systems reduce medical errors. "Recent national studies show that at least 7 percent of hospital patients are affected by these errors," he added. "The data also show clearly that effectively managed EMR systems can eliminate most of them."

Babitch said medication mistakes in particular are a problem, and that they adversely affect one out of every 50 patients now admitted to U.S. hospitals. "Many of the mistakes involve handwriting-related issues," he said. "But the new EMR system prohibits physicians and other caregivers from using handwriting at all in the care of patients, which is a major step forward.

"With more than 93,000 patients admitted to DMC hospitals each year, finding ways to reduce the rate of errors is of paramount concern for all of us."

Because electronic processing of prescriptions and other medical information can usually prevent handwriting and reading mistakes (often the cause of significant injuries in medical treatment), EMR is "an extremely effective tool" for reducing errors, according to Babitch. Such errors cause as many as 98,000 accidental deaths in U.S. hospitals each year, according to recent national estimates, while also triggering up to $200 billion in annual economic losses.

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SOURCE Detroit Medical Center
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