The effects of electronic prescribing on the quality of prescribing
Donyai, P., O'Grady, K., Jacklin, A., Barber, N. and Franklin, B. D. (2008) The effects of electronic prescribing on the quality of prescribing. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 65 (2). pp. 230-237. ISSN 0306-5251
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2007.02995.x.
Aims To investigate the effects of electronic prescribing (EP) on prescribing quality, as indicated by prescribing errors and pharmacists' clinical interventions, in a UK hospital. Methods Prescribing errors and pharmacists' interventions were recorded by the ward pharmacist during a 4 week period both pre- and post-EP, with a second check by the principal investigator. The percentage of new medication orders with a prescribing error and/or pharmacist's intervention was calculated for each study period. Results Following the introduction of EP, there was a significant reduction in both pharmacists' interventions and prescribing errors. Interventions reduced from 73 (3.0% of all medication orders) to 45 (1.9%) (95% confidence interval (CI) for the absolute reduction 0.2, 2.0%), and errors from 94 (3.8%) to 48 (2.0%) (95% CI 0.9, 2.7%). Ten EP-specific prescribing errors were identified. Only 52% of pharmacists' interventions related to a prescribing error pre-EP, and 60% post-EP; only 40% and 56% of prescribing errors resulted in an intervention pre- and post-EP, respectively. Conclusions EP improved the quality of prescribing by reducing both prescribing errors and pharmacists' clinical interventions. Prescribers and pharmacists need to be aware of new types of error with EP, so that they can best target their activities to reduce clinical risk. Pharmacists may need to change the way they work to complement, rather than duplicate, the benefits of EP.