Analysis of prescribers' notes in electronic prescriptions in ambulatory practice.
Approach to Improving Safety
Setting of Care
Many ambulatory practices have recently introduced electronic prescribing, which has the potential to improve medication safety. In this large cross-sectional study, researchers analyzed more than 26,000 electronic prescriptions that included free-text notes sent to community pharmacies. Two-thirds of free-text notes contained inappropriate content, despite the availability of a standard data field. Nearly 1 in 5 of these notes included conflicting administration instructions from the designated structured field, creating an important source of potential medication errors. In addition, approximately 5% of notes contained irrelevant information, which may distract or confuse pharmacy staff. The authors outline recommended solutions based on the information most commonly included in prescription free-text notes.