Hong Kong hospitals must fast-track e-prescription

 25-Jun-15, South China Morning Post 

Medication errors remain the main cause of "serious untoward events" in Hong Kong's public hospitals, with the most frequent being the wrong dosage for inpatients, followed by wrong patient and/or wrong drug. The total number of medication errors rose from 1,399 in 2010 to 1,913 in 2013.

Hong Kong hospitals must fast track e prescription (c) SMCP Jonathan Wong

Image: South Morning China Post / Jonathan Wong

In Hong Kong, even though most errors caused no problems or the wrong drugs were not actually administered, the figures remain cause for concern. Under changes being trialled, doctors prescribe and pharmacists dispense electronically in a system that cross checks against a patient's medication profile, including allergies, and matches drugs to identity bracelets.

The Hospital Authority credits the system, set to be installed in 17 hospitals by the end of 2018, with a 30 per cent reduction in medication errors in some institutions, including those caused by handwriting. There could not be a stronger case for fast-tracking its introduction in public and private hospitals.

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