Results of the Arizona Medicaid Health Information Technology Pharmacy Focus Groups

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In 2007, a federal Medicaid Transformation Grant was awarded to design, develop, and deploy a statewide Health Information Exchange and Electronic Health Record in Arizona, United States.


To explore the health information technology needs, knowledge, and expectations of Arizona’s health care professionals, moderated focus groups were conducted. This article describes the results of the pharmacist focus groups.


Focus group activities included a brief presentation, completion of a paper-based survey, and group discussion. The methods included solicitation by invitation, participant selection, meeting content, collaterals, focus group execution, recording, analysis, and discerning comparability among groups.


Pharmacy focus group discussions centered on electronic prescribing, including the anticipated advantages: reducing handwriting interpretation errors, improving formulary compliance, improving communication with prescribers, increasing efficiency, and ensuring data accuracy. Disadvantages included: medication errors, inadequate training and knowledge of software applications, and inflated patient expectations.


Pharmacists ranked e-prescribing as the highest priority feature of an electronic health system.

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