Minnesota e-prescription requirement ignores nursing homes

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Minnesota's ambitious program requiring healthcare providers to write electronic prescriptions to prevent expensive errors leaves one group of providers out in the cold: nursing homes.

The state's long-term care ombudsman, Deb Holtz, says she is concerned that poor handwriting and transcription errors has led to numerous deaths in nursing homes, according to the Star Tribune. Additionally, state nursing home operators say it's not uncommon for nursing home staff to make multiple calls per day to reconcile illegible handwritten prescriptions from physicians, the paper reports.

While the state of Minnesota does not keep track of nursing home prescription mistakes, the National Academy of Sciences estimated in 2006 that there are 800,000 medication-related injuries in skilled nursing facilities each year.

"Everybody knows people die from poor handwriting and transcription errors," Holtz told the newspaper. “How is it we're trying to practice 21st century medicine with 1950s technology?"

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