A comprehensive patient safety initiative begun in Illinois is aimed at reducing medication-related errors by mandating that all health care providers use electronic prescribing (e-prescribing). The initiative creates a Division of Patient Safety within the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The focus of the division will be on reducing medical errors, developing standard medication practices to decrease adverse drug reactions, and creating on-line physician databases so patients can learn more about their physicians. Furthermore, the Patient Safety Division would like to look into broadband technology for rural health facilities, create a program to provide non-Medicare patients with personalized assistance and care, and provide low-interest loans through the state's finance authority for physicians to upgrade their technology.
Gov Rod Blagojevich's directive calls for upgrades to be in place by 2011. He said, however, that he would like to see physicians and hospitals using e-prescribing by next year. The governor promised to assist health care providers in financing the costs of upgrades in computer software, hardware, and training.