• Vol. 38 No. 6, 494–500
  • 15 June 2009

Evaluating User Satisfaction with an Electronic Prescription System in a Primary Care Group

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: Electronic prescribing has been proposed as an important strategy to reduce medication errors, improve the quality of patient care and create savings in health care costs. Despite these potential advantages, user satisfaction plays a significant role in the success of its implementation. Hence, this study aims to examine users’ satisfaction and factors associated with satisfaction regarding an electronic prescription system implemented in the National Healthcare Group Polyclinics in Singapore. Materials and Methods: An anonymous survey was administered in October 2007 to all physicians, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians working in the 9 National Healthcare Group Polyclinics. Results: Respondents included 118 doctors and 61 pharmacy staff. The overall level of satisfaction with electronic prescribing was high. Doctors and pharmacists reported a high degree of agreement that electronic prescribing reduces prescribing errors and interventions, and they did not want to go back to the paper-based system. Users were generally satisfied with the functionality of the system but there was some degree of workflow interference particularly for the pharmacy staff. Only 56.9% of the pharmacy respondents expressed satisfaction with the review function of the electronic prescription system and only 51.8% and 60% were satisfied when processing prescriptions that included items to be purchased from an external pharmacy or prescriptions with amendments. The results also revealed that satisfaction with the system was more associated with users’ perceptions about the electronic prescription system’s impact on productivity than quality of care. Conclusion: The survey results indicate that the implementation of the electronic prescription system has gone reasonably well. The survey findings provide opportunities for system and workflow enhancement, which is important as these issues could affect the acceptability of a new technology and the speed of diffusion within an organisation.


Electronic prescribing has been proposed as an important strategy to reduce medication errors,1 improve the quality of patient care2 and create savings in healthcare costs.3 Electronic prescription systems allow the prescribing clinician to electronically send an accurate, error-free and understandable prescription directly to the pharmacy. The basic documentation functions of electronic prescribing systems have the potential to increase patient safety and reduce costs through improved legibility since the misinterpretation of poorly handwritten prescriptions is the most frequently identified causes of medication errors.4 Clinical decision-support tools can assist prescribers at the point of care by suggesting appropriate doses and frequencies and by including alerts and reminders. It may also incorporate patient-specific medical information such as patients’ medication allergies. Together, these advanced features have the potential to further improve patient safety and reduce costs by assisting doctors and pharmacists in identifying potential therapeutic conflicts.

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