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The World in Medicine
April 12, 2000

Antidote to Prescription Errors

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JAMA. 2000;283(14):1816. doi:10.1001/jama.283.14.1816-JWM00002-3-1

Physicians in the United Kingdom have developed an effective new bedside prescription system in response to complaints that computerized systems are too cumbersome for hospital use.

In the March 18 BMJ, researchers from the University of Birmingham and Queen Elizabeth Medical Centre in Birmingham, England, described the system, which operates with a standard Microsoft Windows graphical interface and pen-based portable computers for bedside use. Contained in the system are an extensive drug dictionary, patient-specific data, and a backup system in the event of a hardware failure. Previous research has shown that improved information systems may be able to prevent 78% of errors that lead to adverse effects from prescription drugs, the study authors noted.