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Reducing prescribing errors: making electronic prescribing work for cystic fibrosis inpatients


Children admitted to our hospital with cystic fibrosis had frequent medication errors due to polypharmacy and addition of specialist and high-risk medications despite an electronic prescribing and medicines administration system in place. We describe a multidisciplinary quality improvement project that combined a computerised order entry system (CPOE) with human factor process changes. Over 12 months, our run chart showed a 43% reduction in prescription errors. For medications prescribable via the CPOE, errors reaching the patient reduced from 50% to 29%. Electronic prescribing can be seen by clinicians as a fixed unalterable system contributing to rather than ameliorating errors. Improving safety requires whole team engagement and working closely with programmers to adapt function and influence human factors.

  • information technology
  • pharmacology
  • cystic fibrosis

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