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Reducing prescribing errors: can a well-designed electronic system help?

Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice

Drug Prescriptions, Electronic Prescribing, Humans, Intensive Care Units, Interviews as Topic, Medication Errors, prevention & control, Medication Systems, standards

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      In this study, the aim was to investigate if an electronic prescribing system designed specifically to reduce errors would lead to fewer errors in prescribing medicines in a secondary care setting. The electronic system was compared with paper prescription charts on 16 intensive care patients to assess any change in the number of prescribing errors. The overall level of compliance with nationally accepted standards was significantly higher with the electronic system (91.67%) compared with the paper system (46.73%). Electronically generated prescriptions were found to contain significantly fewer deviations (28 in 329 prescriptions, 8.5%) than the written prescriptions (208 in 408 prescriptions, 51%). Taking an interdisciplinary approach to work on the creation of a system designed to minimize the risk of error has resulted in a favoured system that significantly reduces the number of errors made.

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