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Computerised physician order entry and bedside scanning as a tool to improve patient safety
  1. Thomas De Rijdt
  1. Correspondence to Thomas De Rijdt, University Hospitals Leuven, Pharmacy Department, Herestraat 49, B-3000 Leuven Belgium; Thomas.DeRijdt{at}

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It has been a very long time since hospital pharmacists only moved medication boxes around. For a long time now, the primary focus has been on quality care and patient safety. A few hospital pharmacies have obtained quality standard labels such as ISO 9001, NIAZ and JCI.

A short literature review on analysis of what causes medication errors shows that they most often occur at the moment of prescription or transcription and during drug administration. Therefore, the improvement of these processes will have a considerable impact on the optimisation of pharmaceutical care.

Electronic prescription has a legal basis in Belgium regarding authenticity of the medical prescription through ‘third party trusted time stamping’.A growing number of hospitals are implementing computerised physician order entry (CPOE). Using this system the prescription is clearly readable and the relevant data are also available in a structured way, which enhances the distribution process and allows for the implementation of prescription assistance (figure 1).

Figure 1

Computerised physician order entry (CPOE) therapy sheet. A screenshot from a CPOE therapy sheet used by physicians, pharmacists and nursing staff showing the patient's medication therapy per day, per hour or per 10 min (for oncology schemes). In the left columns the medication and administration route are shown while the grid on the right shows information on dose, posology and administration according to the prescription. Note the CPOE ribbon bar in …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.