Electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) may prevent medication errors caused by prescription illegibility; however, information technologies also may introduce different kinds of medication errors.Objective:
To identify and quantify e-prescribing problems reported through an electronic prescribing incident reporting tool in the United States.Methods:
Voluntary and anonymous reports to a web-based, e-prescribing incident reporting tool were collected during 18 months using convenience sampling. Questions in the reporting tool were designed to elicit information on pharmacists' experiences with e-prescribing. Data were analyzed to characterize the different types of e-prescribing concerns.Results:
A total of 484 reports were collected through the incident reporting tool. Out of 484 reports, 75% corresponded to electronic prescriptions received directly into pharmacies' computers and 23% were computer-generated prescriptions faxed to pharmacies. Most of reports corresponded to comments, complaints or identified unsafe conditions regarding electronic prescriptions (49%), followed by incidents that did not reach the patient (44%) and those that reached patients (6%). The majority of problems reported involved directions (24%) and quantity selection (12%).Conclusion:
The use of an incident reporting tool revealed a variety of issues regarding e-prescribing. The majority of the issues reported in this study were related to directions and quantity selection. The findings in this study indicate that software system changes and appropriate prescriber training are required to decrease or eliminate some of these issues.