Was your medication error attributable to healthcare information technology?

by | Mar 12, 2021 | Medical malpractice

Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority (PPSA) officials initiated an investigation into the causes of 889 reported medicinal error cases during the first half of the year in 2016. The investigators determined that many of them were attributable to healthcare information technology (HIT) system glitches.

The PPSA identified several common adverse events that resulted from these program flaws so that medical teams can be on the lookout for them.

What are healthcare information technology systems?

HIT is a drug tracking system that many medical providers use for looking up, inventorying, barcoding and tracking medications. Many medical centers that were early adopters of HIT systems envisioned them being of great assistance in enhancing patient safety. 

What are the 3 leading healthcare information technology system drug errors?

PPSA investigators determined that HIT systems commonly made the following three mistakes:

  • Provided patients with the incorrect dosage
  • Didn’t accurately record dosages
  • Failed to record dosages

While we all know that technology isn’t reliable all the time, medicinal errors such as the ones referenced above will put patients’ lives on the line. 

How can medical providers minimize HIT-related errors?

The PPSA investigators determined that there are some steps that medical team members can take to minimize the chances of HIT medication errors.

They noted that many medical centers could benefit from initially providing their staff with extensive training on the proper use of HIT systems before allowing them to use such technology with actual patients. They also pointed out medical facilities may benefit from tracking the errors that occur to see what policies, if any, can combat them.

The researchers discovered that 33% of drug errors are attributable to human-computer interaction issues. The researchers outlined some of the strategies that other medical providers have implemented to reduce similar mistakes. These include reducing an employee’s ability to make manual modifications and requiring them to type in all caps or use a larger font to distinguish between drugs.

What can you do if technological or provider negligence resulted in a drug error?

The health decline and corresponding pain and suffering that you experienced due to a medicinal error shouldn’t go without someone being held accountable for it. An attorney here in Pittsburgh can help you learn more.