E-prescription systems may reduce costly and dangerous medication-related errors

February 21, 2012

E-prescription systems have emerged as a more effective method for entering drug orders, as a response to the problem of medication errors, according to Patexia.

With an e-prescription system, the healthcare provider enters the medication order into the computer, the order is received by the pharmacy, and the medication is dispensed.

A study from Australia examined the impact of e-prescription systems on medication errors found an approximately 60 percent reduction in total medication-error rates, and a 44 percent decrease in serious medical errors (ones that result in at least a decline in bodily function).

Procedural errors such as incomplete or illegible orders were almost completely eliminated after implementation of the new system. However, these systems do not eliminate all medication-related errors. They are also costly.

Ref.: Westbrook JI, et al., Effects of Two Commercial Electronic Prescribing Systems on Prescribing Error Rates in Hospital In-Patients: A Before and After Study. PLoS Med, 2012 [doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001164]