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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Addition of electronic prescription transmission to computerized prescriber order entry: effect on dispensing errors in community pharmacies.

Moniz TT, Seger AC, Keohane CA, et al. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. 2011;68.

Dispensing errors in the community setting are a frequent source of concern despite greater adoption of computerized prescriber order entry (CPOE) and barcode technologies. This study added e-prescribing technology to an existing CPOE system and evaluated discrepancies between prescribers' orders and the dispensed prescription information. Investigators captured more than 11,000 prescriptions written in the control clinics and nearly 30,000 in the e-prescribing ones to compare rates before and after implementation. E-prescribing was associated with a statistically significant reduction in dispensing errors, by nearly half, compared with printing a prescription out of a CPOE system and then handing it to patients. The authors advocate for this feature as a meaningful intervention to improve medication safety. A past AHRQ WebM&M commentary discussed a dispensing error that originated from a poorly handwritten prescription.