Electronic prescribing improves medication safety in community-based office practices.
Few ambulatory practices use electronic health records (EHRs) in any form, and even those that do generally do not utilize advanced functions such as computerized provider order entry (CPOE). Cost and a lack of high-quality efficacy data are frequently cited as barriers to EHR and CPOE adoption. This controlled trial compared prescribing error rates in 15 ambulatory practices that adopted a commercial e-prescribing system to those of 15 practices that continued using standard paper prescriptions, and found a striking reduction in prescribing errors in the CPOE group. Such safety data may help make the business case for adopting CPOE in the ambulatory setting. A Patient Safety Primer discusses medication errors and other common safety problems in ambulatory care.