New MedAware Technology Can Reduce Medication Errors
In a new study at the Harvard Medical School researchers have discovered a new technology may be able to significantly reduce medication errors. The new technology comes from a company called MedAware. MedAware essentailly offers a big-data software platform that integrates with a hospital's electronic health-record system to detect prescription errors before they happen. It draws from patterns in millions of patient records to flag medication-order outliers.
MedAware claims (along with a number of other studies on the subject) that there are around 1.5 million medication errors that result in injury or death per year and 21 billion dollars in wasteful health-care spending as a result of medication errors. The technology alerts healthcare providers before they prescribe a medicine that the potential for errors exsists. If a physician chooses a drug that doesn't match any condition in the patient's record or diverges from how other patients with similar histories have been treated, the discrepancy is flagged. The system blocks the drug order until the doctor confirms its accuracy or cancels and re-enters the order.
Although the software is not currently used in United States' hospitals, preliminary findings on MedAware's effectiveness were presented at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's annual meeting recently. Retrospective analyses of more than 44 million filled prescriptions from two large hospitals and one health maintenance organization (HMO) in Israel generated alerts for more than 7,000 patients, with a low rate of false alarms. It helped to cut down on the errors in these facilites and no major medication errors were reported in the time MedAware was used. Hopefully we will see this system or a similar system implemented here in the US very soon.