Quick facts about ePrescribing

Ten Things ePrescribing Systems Can And Can’t Do

CAN DO CAN’T DO
ePrescribing and Medicines Administration systems can in some instances improve safety, quality of care and efficiency but they cannot achieve such aims without a dedicated implementation and maintenance team, the engagement of end-users as well as senior executives within the hospital, sufficient time and resources, and the right IT infrastructure both in terms of network and hardware.
ePrescribing and Medicines Administration systems can eliminate or reduce certain types of prescribing errors, and alert users to potential dangers but they cannot and should not replace sound clinical judgement. There is a need to understand that these systems can lead to the introduction of new errors, and therefore raising awareness of these issues, and appropriate training are critical.
ePrescribing and Medicines Administration systems are able to provide an audit trail of the prescribing and medicines administration process but they cannot entirely remove the possibility of duplicate orders and drug wastage.
ePrescribing and Medicines Administration systems can eliminate or reduce time wasted on common events in paper-based environments, such as missing and/or re-writing drug charts but they cannot always shorten the time it takes for individual healthcare professionals to do their job, nor can they be implemented without a detailed mapping of work processes pre- and post-implementation.
The implementation of ePrescribing and Medicines Administration systems can help support a better alignment of policy and practice but they cannot necessarily eliminate users’ resistance or workarounds which may be an essential part of the adoption process.
The information flow within and outside the hospital can be improved with ePrescribing and Medicines Administration systems but the systems cannot do this, unless they are designed and implemented in such a way that will allow that exchange of information to occur.
ePrescribing and Medicines Administration systems can initially be implemented with minimal alerts and functionalities but they cannot be left without regular maintenance and upgrading.
ePrescribing and Medicines Administration systems can support mobile and collaborative working practices but they cannot do so without the right kind of devices and infrastructure.
Some users may find the new ePrescribing and Medicines Administration systems user friendly or intuitive but they cannot be implemented and adopted properly without the right training tailored to the needs and abilities of different groups of healthcare professionals.
ePrescribing and Medicines Administration systems can be used to help a hospital move towards a paper-light environment and be part of a wider EPR strategy but they cannot always be integrated with other systems. Moreover, even though valuable lessons can be learnt from earlier implementations of IT healthcare systems in another or your own hospital, you cannot assume that the implementation of a new ePrescribing and Medicines Administration system will necessarily follow the same path.
NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research, Principal Investigator: Professor Aziz Sheikh
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