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Implementation of e-prescribing systems significantly reduces prescribing error rates, according to research published in the journal PLoS Medicine.
Researchers from the Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Sydney, led by Johanna Westbrook, conducted a before and after study involving a medication chart audit of 3,291 admissions at two Australian teaching hospitals.
The Cerner Millenium e-prescribing and iSoft MedChart systems were used, respectively, at the two hospitals, while some wards continued to use paper prescribing to compare before and after error rates.
Use of an e-prescribing system was associated with a statistically significant reduction in error rates in both hospitals, with limited change in clinical error rates, but serious errors decreasing by 44%.
“Implementation of these commercial e-prescribing systems resulted in statistically significant reductions in prescribing error rates,” concluded the researchers.
“Reductions in clinical errors were limited in the absence of substantial decision support, but a statistically significant decline in serious errors was observed.
“System-related errors require close attention as they are frequent, but are potentially remediable by system redesign and user training.”