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Hospital systems not catching many medication errors

In spite of the efforts of many in the medical community in Pennsylvania and around the country, medical errors trail only heart disease and cancer as a cause of U.S. deaths. One of the believed resolutions for medication errors in particular is the use of computerized-physician-order-entry systems, but it appears that these systems are not as effective at rooting at problems as they were expected to be. A recently released study done by a non-profit organization found that a significant number of mistakes aren't being found by these systems.

Leapfrog Group, which is the organization that completed the study, surveyed nearly 1,800 hospitals and found that a large majority of them were using computerized systems. These systems were put in place with the goal of catching prescription errors, such as incorrect drugs or dosages and drugs that might cause an allergic reaction or interact negatively with other medications.

Researchers found that nearly 40 percent of harmful prescription errors were not caught by computerized systems. Of those errors, about 13 percent could have lead to the death of the patient. Many in the health care system have argued that part of the reason that computerized systems are not as successful as they should be are due to problems with software design and that programs are difficult to use.

There are many forms of medical professional negligence, and errors involving medication are just one type. Medical malpractice may also take the form of not completing a medical procedure correctly, failing to provide a patient proper care or treatment and failing to diagnose someone correctly or in a timely manner. People who have been harmed by such a mistake may want to meet with an attorney to gain a better understanding of the recourse that may be available.

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