Information technology-based approaches to reducing repeat drug exposure in patients with known drug allergies

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008 May;121(5):1112-1117.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2007.12.1180. Epub 2008 Mar 4.


There is increasing interest internationally in ways of reducing the high disease burden resulting from errors in medicine management. Repeat exposure to drugs to which patients have a known allergy has been a repeatedly identified error, often with disastrous consequences. Drug allergies are immunologically mediated reactions that are characterized by specificity and recurrence on reexposure. These repeat reactions should therefore be preventable. We argue that there is insufficient attention being paid to studying and implementing system-based approaches to reducing the risk of such accidental reexposure. Drawing on recent and ongoing research, we discuss a number of information technology-based interventions that can be used to reduce the risk of recurrent exposure. Proven to be effective in this respect are interventions that provide real-time clinical decision support; also promising are interventions aiming to enhance patient recognition, such as bar coding, radiofrequency identification, and biometric technologies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Pharmacy Information Systems*
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Hypersensitivity / prevention & control*
  • Medication Errors / prevention & control*
  • Medication Systems, Hospital*