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Digitalisation of the drug prescribing process in Swiss hospitals – results of a survey


Background The state of digitalisation in the healthcare sector in Switzerland is lagging, even as the national electronic health record (EHR) is being gradually implemented. Little is known about the implementation of electronic prescribing systems, their auxiliary features or drug datasets in Swiss hospitals.

The aim of this study was to understand which electronic systems are implemented to support doctors in Swiss hospitals during the medication prescribing process.

Methods The survey was sent in spring 2021 to the chief pharmacists of the main Swiss hospitals. The survey focused on the introduction of the EHR, the clinical information system (CIS) and its prescribing module, as well as drug information data and clinical decision support systems (CDSS).

Results The response rate was 98% (58/59 hospitals). Almost half of the hospitals (47%) were connected to the national EHR, almost all hospitals (86%) used a CIS and a vast majority of the hospitals (84%) had implemented electronic prescribing systems in their CIS. 10 years ago, around 63% of hospitals used a CIS and 40% were equipped with an electronic prescribing system. Today, CDSS of any kind were implemented in 50% of the hospitals, predominantly for drug-drug interactions. Drug master data were maintained in most hospitals (76%) via an automated interface, but mostly supplemented manually. Clinical drug information data were maintained in 74% of hospitals. In 67% of hospitals, datasets were imported via an automated interface.

Conclusions The digitalisation of the medical prescribing process in Swiss hospitals has progressed over the last decade. Drug prescriptions via electronic prescribing systems were introduced in most hospitals. However, this survey suggests that the current use of CDSS is far from exhausted, and that clinical drug information data could be maintained more efficiently. Optimising electronic support for healthcare professionals during the prescribing process still has considerable potential.

  • Medical Informatics
  • Safety
  • Quality of Health Care

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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