Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.

Join

Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login

Electronic prescribing

Electronic prescribing and medication administration in hospital could be linked to error increases, study finds

After implementation of electronic prescribing and medication administration, pharmacists in hospitals appeared to spend less time with patients and took longer to complete some tasks.

Computer digital electronic prescribing pharmacy

Source: Shutterstock.com

Following implementation of electronic prescribing and medication administration, ward pharmacists spent most of their time on professional communication, screening inpatient medication and screening discharge medication

Hospital electronic prescribing and medication administration (ePA) may be linked with an overall increase in medication errors, a study published in BMC Health Services Research on 12 March 2019 has found.

Pharmacists also appeared to spend less time with patients after ePA implementation and some tasks took them longer to carry out.

The study comprised quantitative direct observations of ward pharmacists in an acute hospital in England, before and after implementation of ePA, to find out the proportion of time that ward pharmacists spent on different tasks, with whom and where.

The observations were followed by interviews with the pharmacists to find out their perceived impact of ePA on ward activities, interactions with patients and healthcare professionals, where tasks were carried out and medication errors.

Overall, it was found that the implementation of ePA had several effects on ward pharmacists’ activities.

Some routine tasks took longer, while others took less time after implementation of ePA, with most time being spent on professional communication, screening inpatient medication and screening discharge medication.

The amount of pharmacists’ time spent interacting with patients was also found to reduce after implementing ePA, from 5% to 2%.

During the interviews, pharmacists appeared to perceive several valuable safety features with ePA, for example, reports that each prescription is always clear and complete with medication order details, the name and the pager number of the prescriber.

However, there was a “prevalent belief” that ePA also increased the incidence of medication errors, both minor and severe.

The interviews suggested that the perceived increase in errors was owing to six types of situation, including the ePA nudging users to do the ‘wrong’ thing and making errors less visible compared with a paper drug chart. The authors said the situations could be improved with enhanced user training and, in some cases, a system redesign.

The team concluded that the pharmacy staff had demonstrated a “degree of resilience” to ensure ‘business as usual’ by enhancing and adapting their role.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206310

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

RPS publications

Pharmaceutical Press is the publishing division of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, and is a leading provider of authoritative pharmaceutical information used throughout the world.

Visit rpharms.com

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.