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Study investigates PDA software applications that can optimize medication safety

Access to drug information at the point of care using personal digital assistants (PDAs) may have great potential to reduce medication errors associated with drug prescribing, depending on the ability of the software to provide specific, accurate, and complete drug information. A study supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS11808) and conducted by Kimberly A. Galt, Pharm.D., F.A.S.H.P., and colleagues at Creighton University, evaluated PDA software resources that have the potential to optimize medication safety.

Researchers evaluated three PDA-based drug information sources: Eprocrates Rx Pro, Lexi-Drug, and mobileMICROMEDEX. They then determined medication error types related to drug information at the point of care and developed 47 questions most commonly asked by primary care providers to test the potential of preventing these types of errors.

Three physicians evaluated and rated the drug information sources, using the rating system of "1" for no information available, "2" for some information available, and "3" for adequate information available. The average ratings for the drug information sources were 2.0 for Eprocrates Rx Pro, 2.5 for Lexi-Drug, and 2.03 for mobileMICROMEDEX. Researchers note, however, as with print libraries, using more than one resource is often necessary to provide the most accurate and complete information.

See "Personal digital assistant-based drug information sources: Potential to improve medication safety," by Dr. Galt, Ann M. Rule, Pharm.D., Bruce Houghton, M.D., and others, in the April 2005 Journal of the Medical Library Association 93(2), pp. 229-235.

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