Critical Success Factors of e-prescribing.

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Critical Success Factors of e-prescribing


E prescribing is thought to provide number advantages to the medical profession and more specifically the prescribing process once successful implementation has been achieved

This short essay will the critical success factors required to achieve success and identify the key benefits that can be realised as a result of e prescribing

According to the Audit Commission report entitled ‘A Spoon full of Sugar’ 1200 patients die each year as a result of prescribing and medication errors.  Nick Mapstone, one of the principal authors of the report predicts that as much as 70% of such errors can be eliminated via the use of computerised prescribing systems.  But how do we achieve success?

Achieving Success: Critical Success Factors

Mark Horsely has worked the NHS for many years and has acquired experience in the practical implementation of Electronic prescribing systems.  As a clinical manger he helped manage a number of successful electronic prescribing projects.  According to Mark the key too improving patient care via the use of computerised clinical systems will mean many problems of the current manual system will be eliminated. For instance obvious problems such as poor handwriting and transcription errors between prescriber and pharmacy are eliminated.  

The benefits go further than this to the extent that that any credible prescribing solution that meets the demands of EPR in the future will provide full clinical decision support to ensure that the correct drug is given to the correct patient, at the right time.   Decision support aids the clinician by allowing the most appropriate drug to be selected for the patient’s condition.  It also has the potential to warn the patient about allergies, potential drug interactions and ensure that medication doses are correct, in relation to the patients height, weight etc.


The administration element of electronic prescribing software assists nursing staff to correctly distribute drugs and therapies to inpatients.  As a result it completes the electronic medication record and permits the removal of drug charts.  Providing a list of doses to be administered can also save nursing time, thus avoiding the need to search through each patient’s chart.

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Trusts have varying perceptions of the objectives they want to achieve.  Project management and specialties differ from trust to trust and its essential that the product is configured accordingly to match the users needs.  As a result thorough planning and the review of hospital processes and procedures are essential to make the software work for the trust.  Rather then computer systems dictating new processes and procedures its important that god working practices remain.

Case Study: Gateshead Health NHS Trust & Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

M.Horsely, mentioned earlier has been involved with recent implementations of e-prescribing.  He has been ...

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The writer has mentioned that a benefit of e-prescribing in that communications between the doctor and pharmacy are speedier. It would be useful to see some information about what communications issues the current system causes. There were a few grammar errors which could be minimised by careful proof-reading. 3/5