Decline in Adverse Drug Events Linked to Use of Health Information Technology

Adverse drug events fell by 67,000 between 2010 and 2013 as the result of the federal “meaningful use” program that offered financial incentives to hospitals for using certified electronic health records, according to a new AHRQ study. 
Adverse drug events are harms experienced by a patient as a result of exposure to a medication. They affect nearly 5 percent of hospitalized patients and can be deadly.

To minimize such harms, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) initiated the meaningful use program in 2010, awarding financial incentives to hospitals and physicians who adopted specific information technology (IT) capabilities, such as computerized prescriber order entry.

The new AHRQ study in Journal of the American Informatics Association found that the growth in meaningful use-related IT explained 22 percent of the observed reduction in adverse drug events in the first three years of the program. Click here to access the abstract.