The Center for Patient Safety Research and Practice at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston will study medication errors reported as being associated with computerized physician order entry systems.

The not-for-profit National Patient Safety Foundation in Boston has awarded a $99,918 grant for the research. Milpitas, Calif.-based Quantros Inc., operator of the MEDMARX database of more than 1.5 million anonymous reports of medication errors, will partner with the center in the year-long research project. About 800 hospitals and health systems have contributed data to MEDMARX.

Investigators will look at about 200,000 MEDMARX records where CPOE was listed as a contributing factor. The research will focus on such topics as:

* Creating descriptive statistics to analyze the drugs, dosing issues, prescribing and dispensing issues, outcomes, and other report-identified contributing factors;

* Extracting data from report narratives to better understand the nature and mechanism of reported CPOE-related errors and how better designed systems might have prevented them; and

* Developing and testing a new classification for CPOE-related errors and process failure modes to collect more useful data.

Researchers also will test vulnerabilities of leading CPOE systems. The industry owes it to CPOE users to listen about what they are learning on the front lines, says Gordon Schiff, M.D., associate director of the Center for Patient Safety Research and Practice, and principal investigator of the project. More information is available at and

--Joseph Goedert


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