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South African Journal of Surgery

versión On-line ISSN 2078-5151
versión impresa ISSN 0038-2361


KRUSE, CH; SMITH, MTD  y  CLARKE, DL. Technology alone does not achieve error reduction - a study of handwritten, tick-sheet, ink stamp and electronic medical prescriptions. S. Afr. j. surg. [online]. 2022, vol.60, n.4, pp.259-267. ISSN 2078-5151.

BACKGROUND: Technology in the form of electronic record systems and prescriptions have been touted as a potential solution to human error. In South Africa, a middle-income country where health facilities have large variations in technological capacity, prescription errors can be complex and varied. We evaluated different prescribing methods to find if the increased use of technology in prescriptions will assist in reducing error rates METHODS: A retrospective, non-randomised study compared prescriptions, error rates and types in four hospitals with different prescribing methods: these were handwritten, ink stamp, tick-sheet and electronic prescriptions. A modern human error theory data collection tool was designed which included patient complexity. Cataract surgery was chosen as the single common procedure RESULTS: One thousand six hundred and sixty-one individual scripts had 1 307 prescription errors. Increasing patient complexity was not an indicator of error rate. Handwritten and tick-sheet prescriptions had the fewest errors (49% and 51%, respectively). Electronic (96%) and ink stamp scripts (101%) had almost twice as many errors as handwritten scripts (p < 0.001) mainly due to systemic inbuilt errors CONCLUSION: The application of increasing degrees of technological complexity does not automatically reduce error rate. This is especially apparent when technology is not integrated into human factors engineering and persistent critical assessment

Palabras clave : prescriptions; medication; orders; error; handwritten; stamp; tick-sheet; electronic; computerised; EHR; CPOE.

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