Digital Records Spot Side Effects

The Wall Street Journal | October 15 – Computerized patient records could be used to improve lax reporting of serious drug side effects, the results of a small study suggest.

The study, at Massachusetts General and Brigham & Women’s hospitals in Boston and sponsored by Pfizer Inc., showed a large increase in reporting of adverse events to the Food and Drug Administration once doctors used and automated tool.

Over five months in 2008 and 2009, 26 doctors at the two hospitals reported 217 side effects to regulators, compared with zero reports in the same group in the previous year, according to the study, published online Monday in the medical journal Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety.

When one of the doctors in the study recorded discontinuing a medicine because a patient experienced an adverse event, the hospital’s electronic patient record system generated an alert. The system asked the doctor whether the side effect was serious and submitted a report to regulators.


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