New technologies as a strategy to decrease medication errors: how do they affect adults and children differently?

World J Pediatr. 2016 Feb;12(1):28-34. doi: 10.1007/s12519-015-0067-6. Epub 2015 Dec 18.


Background: Medication error can occur throughout the drug treatment process, with special relevance in children given the risk of adverse effects resulting from a medication error is more prevalent than in adults. The significance of medication error in children is also greater because small error that would be tolerated in adults can cause significant damage in children. Moreover, the likelihood of injury is higher than in adults.

Data sources: Based on the data published, most medication errors take place in prescribing and administration stages in both populations. Taking in account that child's risk factors are different from those of adults, with some specific causes to pediatrics, we have reviewed available data about new technologies as a strategy to reduce pediatric medication errors.

Results: Even though there is a lack of standardized definitions and terminology that makes studies difficult to compare, we checked that new technologies have proven to be effectives in reducing medication errors, mainly computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and platforms to aid decision-making. However, we also observed that the use of these informatic tools can also generate new errors.

Conclusions: Implementation of CPOE programs for pediatrics, communication improvement between healthcare professionals taking care of admitted children and the knowledge of these programs should be the mayor priorities for the safety of hospitalized children.

Keywords: electronic prescribing; new technologies; pediatric medication errors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Medical Order Entry Systems
  • Medication Errors / prevention & control*