Although medication errors among hospitalized HIV patients still are common, the use of electronic health records can help reduce such errors, according to three studies presented at the inaugural IDWeek meeting in San Diego, Medical News Today reports (Medical News Today, 10/22).
Researchers at the meeting said prescribing errors often occur when HIV patients are hospitalized for non-HIV illnesses (Susman, MedPage Today, 10/20).
Joel Gallant -- IDWeek chair for the HIV Medicine Association -- said that such patients "are at risk for serious medication errors, especially when drugs are added or changed by physicians without HIV expertise" (Medical News Today, 10/22).
Findings From Studies
A Cleveland Clinic study discussed at the meeting found that prescribing errors occurred in about 50% of the 162 HIV patients who were admitted to the hospital in a 10-month period for non-HIV related illnesses.
Another study, conducted by the University of Chicago, found that EHRs helped reduce the amount of errors related to medication timing from 14 to one during an 18-month period.
The third study -- conducted at St. Mary's Health Care in Michigan -- found that use of EHRs "improved patient safety and showed a financial benefit," according to Jean Lee, a clinical pharmacist for HIV medicine at the hospital.
The Michigan study found that EHRs helped reduce medication errors among HIV patients from 16% to 1.1%, a 93% decline. The reduction saved the hospital and patients about $25,000, according to the study (MedPage Today, 10/20).
Gallant said that the three studies "emphasize the critical importance of [EHRs] and early expert consultation in hospitalized HIV-infected patients to present dangerous and costly medication errors" (Medical News Today, 10/22).