September 1, 2004

UWSOP Brings Health Technology into the 21ST Century

The University of Washington School of Pharmacy, along with The Everett Clinic, have been awarded a $1.03 million dollar grant to evaluate how computerized prescribing in an out patient clinical setting improves medication safety and patient outcomes. The grant, funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services, is part of a federally mandated program to use Health Information Technology (HIT) as a means to improve the nation’s health care system.

According to the Institute of Medicine, medical errors cause 98,000 deaths each year in the US. This grant is part of a $139M funding initiative from the US Department of Health and Human Services, awarded through its Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, to promote the use of Health Information Technology (computerized prescribing) as a means to reduce medical errors and improve the national health care system – by making it safer and more efficient. cies.

The project is a collaborative effort by the University of Washington School of Pharmacy and its partners, The Everett Clinic, CliniTech (The Everett Clinic’s healthcare Information Technology Organization) and Providence Everett Medical Center. This is one of the first times a study like this has been done in an outpatient clinical setting, such as The Everett Clinic. Until now, most computerized prescribing studies have been done in large hospitals.

The team will test the efficiency and accuracy of computerized prescribing in reducing medication errors (pre- versus post- study); and will identify any links these errors may have to adverse drug events related to emergency department admissions. They will use interviews, focus groups and surveys to evaluate prescriber’s experiences.

In addition to reducing medication errors, the team expects the project to improve health information sharing between providers and pharmacies. This will make transitions between healthcare settings safer for patients. It is anticipated that improving the efficiency of community health services, medication safety, and patient outcomes will decrease the nation’s total healthcare costs.

The study will take place over the next three years. All information, strategies and lessons learned from the study will be documented and made available to the public.

“Medication safety is a priority at The Everett Clinic. We look forward to being a vital component of this project and helping others improve in this area,” explains Dr. Albert W. Fisk, medical director of The Everett Clinic and co-principal investigator.

“This study is an important step in creating a more technologically advanced infrastructure by which the national healthcare system will become more efficient, effective and safe” states Dr. Sean D. Sullivan, professor and director, Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research and Policy Program and co-principal investigator, UW School of Pharmacy.

For more information on this project, please contact the School at 206-543-3485.

Featured in The Seattle Times and the Everett Herald


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