Background An electronic prescribing system (EPS) improves the prescription-validation-administration sequence and reduces errors. Nevertheless new questions can appear and it is interesting to take them into account.
Purpose To describe positive and negative aspects that the implementation of an EPS produces in a physician when he/she prescribes, in a nurse during the administration of the drugs and in the pharmacist when he/she validates.
Materials and Methods We recorded the advantages and disadvantages identified by pharmacists as seen by different professionals from the introduction in January 2010 of an EPS.
Results Positive aspects for the pharmacist: real-time validation (it avoids administration errors and facilitates communication between healthcare professionals); no unreadable or incomplete prescriptions, chance to cheque nurse records (administration time, observations and incidents); quick access to ambulatory care and other hospital admissions medicines records; ability to see and change drug administration rates and information about the drugs is instantly available from databases. Physician: availability of protocols; rapid access to the hospital formulary, automatic drug changes, automatic allergy alerts. Nurse: drugs appear automatically on the administration records, they can request medicines directly from the prescription screen.
Negative aspects for the pharmacist: repeated validation is required of unchanged prescriptions; errors can be made if the medicine is changed (e.g. duration of treatment). Physician: errors due to lack of knowledge of trade names (e.g. insulin); the existence of protocols can lead to incorrect prescriptions (e.g. for elderly people); errors due to ignorance of the programme (former frequencies of administration are retained); need to delete old prescriptions. Nurse: they cannot change the administration schedule; some services don’t use yet the EPS.
Conclusions The implementation of EPS improves many aspects for all the health professionals involved. Pharmacist validation is more complete, real time and faster. It is necessary to know the programme well to detect new errors as they arise in order to correct them.
No conflict of interest.
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