Think Tank Will Research, Develop Technology To Reduce Medication Errors

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Medication Errors

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A coalition of physician, pharmacy, health insurer and other groups on Wednesday announced the formation of the Center for Improving Medication Management,a think tank based in Washington, D.C., that will conduct research anddevelop programs on the use of technology to help reduce medicationerrors, CQ HealthBeat reports. According to sponsors -- which include SureScripts, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the BlueCross and BlueShield Association, Humana, Intel and the Medical Group Management Association-- the center will promote best practices for the use of electronicprescribing technology that links physicians, pharmacists and patients.The center also will conduct research on the use of such technology toimprove the dispensation, use and evaluation of medications.

Sponsorsmaintain that the broad adoption of such technology could help reducemedication errors and provide patients with more information abouttheir treatments. Recent studies have found that only about half ofU.S. patients take their medications as prescribed, according tosponsors. Bern Shen, director of strategic planning at the IntelDigital Health Group, said, "Because medication nonadherence isestimated to account for between 10% to 20% of hospital admissions andadds up to $100 billion a year to health care costs in the U.S. alone,innovations related to e-prescription and improving patients' successin taking medications as prescribed have the potential to greatlyimprove both clinical and economic outcomes."

Carolyn Clancy, director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, added, "Medication adherence is America's new drug problem." Mark Merritt, president of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association,said the formation of the center indicates that "e-prescribing is at atipping point," adding, "The time is right for action" (CQ HealthBeat, 8/15).
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