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August 22/29, 2001

Medication Errors in Children—Reply

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing Editor


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Copyright 2001 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2001American Medical Association

JAMA. 2001;286(8):915-916. doi:10.1001/jama.286.8.915-JLT0822-1-3

In Reply: Drs Poole and Benitz state that medication errors in children's hospitals are a longstanding problem,1 and that clinical pharmacists are especially important in pediatrics. They also emphasize the necessity of calculating medication doses for a child's weight.

When calculations are needed, computers are especially beneficial; while they do not possess the judgment of humans, they rarely make calculation errors.2 Therefore, it is unfortunate that CPOE applications have not been widely developed for pediatrics. We believe this is primarily because pediatric patients comprise a relatively small proportion of the overall market and because pediatric tools are relatively complex. Thus, pediatrics has been a low priority for computer vendors, a situation analogous to the reluctance of pharmaceutical companies to test new drugs for children prior to US Food and Drug Administration requirements. Our hope is that such data will result in public demand for pediatric CPOE applications. In the meantime, hospitals can use clinical pharmacists, particularly in intensive care units, to prevent medication errors. This approach has been demonstrated to be effective in adult settings.3

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