Local hospital goes digital to cut prescription errors

By: Meredith Taylor
By: Meredith Taylor

An alarming report out from the Institute of Medicine shows there have been more than a million injuries this past year due to drug errors.

One local hospital is helping pharmacies fill prescriptions the right way, every time.

Things get busy for pharmacist Laura Knotts.

" It's just nonstop," she says.

Having worked at Parks Pharmacy in North Augusta for eight years, she expects it.

"We would probably do from 270 to 400, just depends on the day."

Laura gives each prescription personal attention. Some take more time than others.

"Some doctors I won't even fill their prescription until I verify what it says."

A new report from the Institute of Medicine shows that messy writing is a real problem.

More than 1.5 million Americans are hurt every year by drug errors.

However, some hospitals are using technology to prevent them. Dr. Jennifer Bartley at University Hospital lets a computer write her prescriptions.

"Prescriptions are more legible, they're printed off the computer, the prescriptions are in the computer," she says. "So you have to pick correct dosage and patients are already loaded in. The computer will also check for drug interactions."

Dr. Bartley admits she's much more comfortable with the computer.

University Hospital is going electronic all around. In-house patients also have a barcode on their armband. When the system scans it, it will ask a number of questions before medicine is distributed.

University is gradually putting computers in all the physician's offices, double-checking prescriptions and making them easier to read for pharmacists like Laura.

"You just don't want to take a chance," Laura says. "You don't want to put somebody's life in danger."

For your safety, doctors say you can ask pharmacists questions about your prescriptions.

Doctor's Hospital also has the first robot in the area helping in its pharmacy.

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