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IT move to prevent prescribing errors

The National Patient Safety Agency has teamed up with primary care IT providers to help reduce medication errors from incorrect prescribing.

The agency has incorporated specific warning prompts within clinical systems to protect patients taking oral methotrexate.

These include interface alert messages, standardised dosages to avoid daily and weekly dosage confusion, alerts for required blood monitoring and early repeat prescription warnings.

The agency is working with EMIS, First DataBank and other system suppliers to introduce more safeguards to their prescribing applications.

Dr Jonathan Meadows, director at EMIS, said it had addressed methotrexate first because of the seriousness of the prescribing errors.

The agency said unusual weekly dosing frequency had led to 137 patient safety incidents being reported over the last 10 years. These had led to 25 deaths and 26 cases of

serious long-term harm.

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