Evaluation of Electronic Prescription Implications in Turkey: An Investigation of the Perceptions of Physicians

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Abstract

Background:

Electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) is an evolving area of healthcare information technology that aims to support physician decision-making by capturing, reviewing, and issuing medical prescriptions with high potential for improving the quality and safety of the process.

Purpose:

To describe physician perception of e-prescription use in healthcare organizations that work with social security and to evaluate their infrastructures for MEDULA (an information system for billing and other health informatics) in healthcare organizations in Turkey.

Methods:

A cross-sectional survey design was used for this study. A convenience sample of physicians in eight general hospitals and in two oral and dental health centers of the Ministry of Health in Turkey were surveyed.

Results:

Survey response rate was 47% (248/425). The majority of physicians (62%) support e-prescribing but have not used an electronic signature for prescriptions (78.2%). Almost half of them believe that e-prescriptions would positively contribute to patient safety (43%)

Linking Evidence to Action:

Our study provides a first look at the perceptions of physicians regarding the implications of e-prescriptions, which became mandatory on January 15, 2013, in Turkey. Advocates of e-prescribing have suggested that additional efforts are needed to strengthen clinical decision systems. Physicians and nurses are better able to adopt e-prescribing systems and to view them positively if they recognize the limitations of paper-based prescribing and understand the utility of electronic systems in addressing some of these limitations. This study represents a starting point for government and related organizations to improve their knowledge on how well the implied benefits of e-prescriptions are realized in their acquisition, appraisal, and use in health policy decision-making and health systems.

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