Today’s Solutions: May 28, 2023

The CEO of Allscripts, a Chicago-based health-care technology company, explains we can improve the healthcare system and save more lives by moving away from traditional handwritten prescriptions.

What’s the problem with handwritten doctors’ prescriptions?
“Every year, 1.5 million Americans are injured from preventable medication errors, according to the Institute of Medicine. More than 7,000 of them die. The doctor’s bad handwriting can cause patients to die because they can end up with the wrong medication. Another error is a mistake in the dosage, so for instance, a child might get 10 milligrams instead of one. And others are injured because of interactions with drugs the doctor didn’t know the patient was taking. Technology can solve all these problems.”
“Through electronic prescribing and medical record software that removes error from the process. Some 50,000 physicians use our e-prescribing software, including more than 15,000 physicians in small practices in inner cities and rural areas to whom we’ve given free software.”
I assume doctors don’t like to hear that their handwriting can kill their patients.
“Of course, no doctor wants to admit that his practice is not safe. And it’s certainly not anyone’s intention to make mistakes. But we should simply acknowledge we can do things better than we’re doing now. The solution is here and there’s no longer any excuse not to use it.”
Is it easy to get doctors to cooperate?
“Remember, physicians have been writing prescriptions exactly the same way for 100 years. They’ve had pads and pens in their pockets for generations, and now they have to use electronic prescribing. It doesn’t save them time, but it might save their patients’ lives. I think it’s all a question of leadership. We can do better and so we must. Information technology can be used to improve health care. This way we can save money while saving lives.

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