New study paves the way for collaboration on artificial intelligence modelling and medication error reduction globally
Researchers at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Taipei Medical University, and Aesop Technology, a Taiwan-based startup, announced today the results of a new joint study into the international transferability of machine learning (ML) models to detect medication errors. The results were recently published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research - Medical Informatics.
Working to Reduce Medication Errors
Medication errors are a growing financial and healthcare burden that results in economic costs of around US$ 20 billion and more than 250,000 deaths annually in the U.S. alone.
Medication errors can occur during any stage of the medication process, including prescribing, dispensing, administration, and monitoring, with errors in prescribing accounting for 50% of the total.
When medicating patients, physicians go through complex decision-making processes to accurately write a prescription. First, they must clearly define the patient's problem and list the therapeutic objective before selecting an appropriate drug therapy based on age, gender, and possible allergies. They must also consider dosing, drug-drug interaction, potential discontinuation of the drug, drug cost, and other therapies — and all of these need to be done instantly and simultaneously.
"Reducing medication errors at the source is crucial. However, to help physicians be better informed and make better decisions, they need more accurate suggestions and alerts. This is where machine learning can help to make better decisions and improve patient safety and quality of care," said Dr. David W. Bates, Chief of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care at Brigham & Women's Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
For technology to assist in solving these problems, it is critical that machine learning understands these variables. For this to be successful, data must be properly collected, organized, and maintained.