Electronic prescribing, or e-prescribing, has been widely reported to improve safety, quality, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of the medication use process in community pharmacies. However, numerous anecdotal reports suggest that e-prescriptions present unintended prescribing errors that result in a significant time burden to pharmacists patient care activities. This project will be the first study to empirically and objectively characterize the interactions that pharmacists have with e-prescribing technology, so that we can shed light on the impact of e-prescribing on patient safety and pharmacy workflow. Accordingly, the specific aims are: 1. to discover the extent and significance of unintended prescribing errors associated with e-prescriptions, 2. to study the effect of e-prescribing on financial and workflow issues, 3. to characterize the information needs and mental recall required to effectively process e-prescriptions, and 4. to compare the different interfaces by which e-prescriptions are presented in pharmacies to identify design strengths and weaknesses. Results of this study may be used to identify effective interventions to support pharmacists interface with e-prescribing technology, and more importantly, inform national pharmacy associations and policy makers about the appropriate role of health information technology in the community setting.
University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy