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Electronic medical orders may save lives

  By TechUniverse
Doctors at a California children's hospital have found the first evidence that using an electronic system to communicate their orders may save lives. After the system was introduced in 2007, the hospital witnessed a 20-percent drop in mortality rate, the equivalent of 36 fewer deaths over a year and a half. "It's the lowest rate ever observed in a children's hospital," said Dr. Chris Longhurst, of Stanford University and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto, California, whose findings are published in the journal Pediatrics. "It begs the question how many lives could be rescued on a national level." In 1999, a report from the Institute of Medicine blamed medical errors for between 44,000 and 98,000 deaths per year in the United States. Many hospitals have since introduced so-called computerized physician order entry, or CPOE, in an effort to lower that number. Such systems allow doctors to relay prescriptions to pharmacists without delay, and without the need for the pharmacist to decipher doctors' scrawl. Read More

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