AHRQ study finds med mgmt. measures reduce adverse drug events

The latest post on the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT’s blog, HealthIT Buzz, cites the impact EHRs can have on the rate of adverse drug events.

A study funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) found Florida hospitals that adopted all five core measures of Meaningful Use for medication management in 2010 had the lowest rate of adverse drug events of all hospitals in the state.

Jon White, MD, AHRQ’s director of health IT, and Judy Murphy, RN, director of the Office of Clinical Quality and Safety and ONC’s chief nursing officer, co-authored the post.

They wrote that hospitals that identified medication management as a major concern had the highest rate of adverse drug events, followed by hospitals that had not yet adopted any of the measures.

Using CPOE, information exchange and maintaining active lists of medications and medication allergies are some of the specific medication management measures.

The study also affirmed another powerful force facing hospitals in deploying EHRs to reduce adverse drug events: physician resistance.

Hospitals where physicians objected to adopting HITECH’s meaningful use measures for medication management saw their adverse drug events increase by 14 percent, compared to a 52 percent reduction at hospitals where physicians supported the medication management meaningful use measures. Even hospitals that cited costs as a main barrier to adoption of medication management measures reduced their drug errors by 35 percent.