Report says e-care will reduce medical errors

Internet-based technology at the point of care has the potential to greatly reduce medical errors and save money, according to a new report from Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co., an Arlington, VA, holding company for a venture capital, investment bankers, and Internet holdings company.

"The introduction of technology at the point of care should reduce medication errors by eliminating illegible manual prescription errors and the possibly fatal adverse drug interactions that can occur when the wrong drug is prescribed," says James Ackerman, the company’s senior healthcare and technology analyst and author of the report "e-Care: Internet Solutions Changing the Paradigms of Health."

The growth of spiraling health care costs, "health care consumerism," and the use of wireless technology will drive the penetration of the Internet into health care, allowing patients to better monitor their own health, empowering physicians with more resources, and providing payers with a better mechanism for managing care, Ackerman says.

As a result, patients will get better treatment less expensively, he adds.

"Today about 3% of hospitalizations are due to adverse drug reactions, and 25% of medication errors result from drug name confusions. Yet studies have shown that more than half of all prescribing errors can be prevented through computerizing the prescription order entry process," he says.

(The report is available at the firm’s Web site: http://www.fbr.com.)