SNF docs may prevent adverse drug events with mobile devices

Nearly half of deaths occurring in nursing homes because of adverse drug events are preventable according to Stephen M. Handler, MD, PhD, assistant professor of biomedical informatics, geriatric medicine, and clinical and translational sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Handler and his research team surveyed more than 550 nursing home physicians about their use of mobile devices with drug reference software at the American Medical Directors Association’s (AMDA) annual meeting in March.

“Most U.S. nursing homes do not have electronic medical record systems and…physicians frequently do not have access to current medication information at the point of prescribing,” says Dr. Handler in an Science Daily article. He adds that not having accessibility to “accurate and timely medication information can lead to adverse drug events and drug-drug interactions.”

The study analysis, published in the October issue of JAMDA, found that 42 percent of the physicians surveyed used a mobile device with drug reference software to check medications. However, this practice was more evident in physicians with fewer than 15 years in practice.

The study concludes that while a significant number of nursing home physicians use mobile devices with drug reference software, the proportion is smaller than in other clinical areas. Researchers recommend further study to characterize the physicians that use mobile devices to determine what barriers exist that hamper adoption of technology that could prevent adverse drug events.

Topics: Clinical , Technology & IT