The prevention of medication errors is through Information Technology Systems


Utilization of prescribed drugs is common, complicated and more risky in the present day. Modern advances in medical research and technologies means that doctors have access to over 10,000 prescription drugs. Furthermore, nearly 33% of people over the age of 65 living in America take five or more medications. While the development of medical and clinical knowledge has improvements in the health of patients suffering from a variety of diseases However, these benefits come with increased risk (Authority 2014). Adverse Drug Events (ADE) refers to the damage that is caused to patients due to exposure to medications. ADEs are responsible for more than 700,000 visits to emergency departments plus more than 100,000 hospitalisations within the US alone. In light of these figures doctors have to come up with ways to prevent medication mistakes (Agrawal 2014). A major of the popular and effective ways of reducing medication errors is the use of technology. In this scenario using Bar Codes and Smart Pumps as well as Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) can reduce the incidence of errors in medication administration.

Technology and the Reduction of Medication Errors

The 21 century-century healthcare industry is marked by significant advancements in medical technology that has resulted in better results in taking care of patients. Despite this however, errors in medication remain a significant issue that has not been effectively addressed by the advancement of technology (Poon and others. (2010)). A few of the technologies that could be used to prevent medication errors include Smart Pumps and the CPOE in addition to others.

Bar Codes

The bar-coding technology is commonplace in the commercial world, in order to ensure the easy tracking a product within an organization, from its introduction through its departure in the inventory. This technology can also be beneficial in the healthcare industry. It can help decrease medication errors (Ammenwerth and Schnell-Inderst Machan, & Siebert, 2008). The knowledge adds more credibility to those “five rights” of medication management that medical doctors and clinical professionals are already familiar with. These rights include the correct patient, the proper medication, the correct prescription, the correct method, and the proper timing. In the case of example, when a doctor makes an order that is processed by an electronic pharmacy, the pharmacist analyzes the product to determine if any drug exchanges or aversions are in place. When the order is accepted and the dosage plan is outlined by the pharmacist and the order is processed, the information is sent to the system for electronic medical records (eMAR) for the nurse or doctor (Poon and co. 2010,). If allergies are identified then the relevant information is recorded and then passed on to the electronic medication record. To justify making use of Bar Codes, a study conducted by the Institute of Medicine in 1999 found that the technology made sure it was of the proper dosage and to the right patient (Pippins and Co. (2008)). Furthermore, it made sure that nurses would be able to stay on track by providing proper reminders. Thus, it is essential to implement bar code technology. Bar Code technology to help in reducing the number of mistakes in the treatment of patients in hospitals.

Smart Pumps

The occurrence of medication errors during intravenous (IV) infusions can result in some serious consequences for patients. Indeed, over 60% of life-threatening ADEs are related to IV infusion. In their 2006 report that was released, the Institute of Medicine recommended that Smart Pumps will allow for exact medication best for the patient, without any risk of side negative effect (Reves 2013). Smart Pumps Smart Pumps or intelligent infusion devices, which are equipped with software, offer the additional benefit of avoiding potential mistakes (Agrawal 2014). The pumps allow for medical facilities to build prescription databases which include drug-related procedures that outline the amount of each, their application, and medical advice. Libraries are designed to meet the specific requirements of an organisation or patients who are part of a facility.

The pumps offer three actions to take during the infusion of medication. The Smart Pumps provide medical advice. When it comes to medical advice the pump will show messages that are related to the drugs that a doctor could advise patients. With Soft Stops, the pump ceases to operate in a way that the patient does not risk exposing themselves to the risk that comes with administering the medicine outside of the prescribed range. However, the warning can be altered through the use of the device in that the drug is administered without altering any settings in the Smart Pump (Pippins and co. (2008)). When a hard stop is made when the pump is stopped, the Smart Pump alerts users in a manner that the user is not able to exceed the prescribed dosage limit.

The Smart Pumps provide an advantage over traditional pumps. In the first place, they can reduce the amount of errors caused by inaccurate dose calculations (Pippins and Co. (2008)). This is possible by using the Smart Pumps provide verification of computations that are labor intensive which ensures that the dose chosen is appropriate for the prescribed dose and the patient. It also collects and safeguards data during the administration of drugs. This information could be utilized in the future to improve the quality of service and efficiency efforts.

The Smart Pumps have a variety of flaws that must be rectified. First of all, the technology isn’t flawless as it cannot hinder the use of the medications to the wrong patients despite having the appropriate dosage and dosage. But, this problem can be resolved by using bar codes that help in identifying suitable patients and the appropriate timing for administration (Poon and co. 2010,). The accuracy of the Smart Pumps is also measured by the precise entering of the required amount and the data stored from the database. If the database is not complete, has incorrect or missing data Smart Pumps won’t operate properly. However, they can lead to an increase in errors in the administration of medication. Soft Stops are able to be bypassed, thus creating a possibility for medication mistakes.


The CPOE allows for the recording of prescriptions or other instructions from a physician electronically, in contrast to conventional paper chart. One of the primary benefits of using CPOE is that it reduces errors in medication that are due to poor handwriting, or poor transcription of prescriptions (Pippins and colleagues. (2008)). The system emulates the process of making paper charts which eliminates the error-prone paper charts. Furthermore using the CPOE significantly reduces errors while simultaneously increasing the cost-effective and clinically appropriate prescriptions and administration of medicines and tests (Ammenwerth and others. (2008)). The system also provides assistance to physicians which improves the accuracy and adequacy of treatment. There is a need to input and create information based on the local agreement on the knowledge base as well as the rules used to enable decision support to operate effectively. The CPOE system could also be used to determine interactions between laboratory and medication results, thereby making it a vital information source to ensure proper dosage as well as administration.

Despite its benefits the technology does have some weaknesses. For one, the delay factor is the biggest obstacle to its widespread use. Many doctors are unhappy that they take a longer time to input any order in the system opposed to handwritten charts on paper (Pippins and co. (2008)). Additionally, due to the modern technology, many doctors struggle to transition from traditional paper charts to the latest technology offered with the CPOE (Authority 2014). Therefore, even when the system is installed doctors and doctors tend to ignore it and instead use the traditional paper charts to write prescriptions. Another drawback is the price and the time it takes to put in the system in order to achieve functioning levels.


The paper provides an in-depth analysis of the ways in which medication errors continue be a major issue in many healthcare settings around the globe. Technology has offered possible solutions and ideas that could be utilized to decrease errors while improving patients’ health outcomes. In this scenario it is the case that using Bar Code technology, Smart Pumps along with Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) provides a number of alternatives to using technology to reduce errors in medicine within the healthcare sector. In the paper the importance is that medical facilities adopt these kinds of technologies to shield patients from errors in medication which cause the majority of hospitalizations across the United States and across the world.

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