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Meaningful Use Lowers Rate of Adverse Drug Events, Study Finds

August 19, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
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A new study from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) found that implementing meaningful use medication management measures leads to lower adverse drug events in hospitals.

Findings of the study were posted in Health IT Buzz Blog by Judy Murphy, R.N., the Director of the Office of Clinical Quality & Safety and Chief Nursing Officer at the Office for the National Coordinator of Health IT (ONC). The blog was co-written by Jon White, M.D. at AHRQ.

The study looked at Florida hospitals that had adopted the five core measures of meaningful use for adverse drug events. The researchers compared their adverse drug event rates to those that hadn't adopted all of the measures. 

The difference between the two was substantial. The difference between hospitals that had not adopted any of the five measures (a rate of 1.71 percent) and hospitals that had adopted all of them (a rate of 1.36 percent) is considered significant by the researchers. The average rate of adverse drug events in a hospital in Florida for the year of the study was 1.7 percent.

Further, at hospitals where physicians resisted the meaningful use measures for medication management, there was a 14 percent increase in adverse drug events over the course of the year. Hospitals where there was no resistance saw a 52 percent reduction in adverse drug events. Those who cited cost as a barrier to meaningful use had still reduced their adverse drug event rates by 35 percent.

Murphy notes that because the data was for hospitals in Florida at 2010, it's likely that more hospitals have adopted the medication management measures. It's unclear, she notes, if this has led to a lower adverse drug rate in hospitals across the board.

Recently, an article in The Boston Globe attempted to argue the opposite. The articles used examples where electronic health records (EHRs) led to adverse drug events. Karen DeSalvo, National Coordinator for Health IT, wrote a letter to the newspaper taking exception to the article.

Read the source article at HealthIT.gov

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