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Effect of E-Prescribing Systems on Patient Safety

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Abstract

E-prescribing systems enable electronic transmissions of prescriptions to pharmacies from the provider's office. The promise of e-prescribing in regard to patient safety is reduction in the time gap between point of care and point of service, reduction in medication errors, and improved quality of care. This article will give a brief overview of e-prescribing systems, what is known about these systems and their impact on patient safety, and what challenges remain. For purposes of this article, the term “patient safety” will be used interchangeably with medication errors and adverse drug events. Although there is some evidence that e-prescribing alone and e-prescribing with medication decision support can reduce medication errors, there is also evidence that e-prescribing can be a source of medication errors. The need for more study is particularly relevant and timely, as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is strongly incentivizing providers to use e-prescribing with medication decision support. Despite concerns about efficiency and dissatisfaction, the majority of providers believe e-prescribing provides for improved patient safety. Limited evidence suggests that e-prescribing with medication decision support can improve patient safety. Mt Sinai J Med 78:827–833, 2011.© 2011 Mount Sinai School of Medicine

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