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Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2003 Jul 15;60(14):1447-58.

Impact of emerging technologies on medication errors and adverse drug events.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, University of California, San Francisco, USA.


Published evidence on the effects of computerized physician order entry (CPOE), automated dispensing machines (ADMs), bar coding, and computerized medication administration records (CMARs) on medication errors and adverse drug events (ADEs) were reviewed. Emerging technologies have been recommended as potential mechanisms for reducing medication errors. Critical evaluations of the impact of these new technologies on medication errors and other adverse outcomes are lacking. PubMed was searched to identify all peer-reviewed publications linking four technologies (CPOE, ADMs, bar coding, and CMARs) with reductions in medication errors and ADEs and secondary endpoints. All controlled studies that assessed the impact of the technologies were evaluated. The appropriateness of the use of these technologies was also examined. Few studies were identified that evaluated the technologies' impact on these endpoints. Of the evaluated technologies, CPOE was the most studied; however, investigations were limited to selected medical centers. The appropriateness of use of the technologies was evaluated even more infrequently. A literature review revealed a paucity of controlled, generalizable studies confirming the benefits of technologies intended to reduce medication errors and ADEs. Very little evidence on the appropriateness of the use of these technologies was found.

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