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Assist Inferm Ric. 2007 Apr-Jun;26(2):92-8.

[Does the electronic prescription reduce drugs errors? Comparison between electronic and manual prescription].

[Article in Italian]

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U.O. Chirurgia Generale, AO Policlinico S. Orsola Malpighi, Bologna.



Medication errors are the major responsible for adverse events in hospitals. Although computerized prescription systems are widely considered the best option to decrease the medication errors, this belief is not evidence based since only few studies assessed their effectiveness.


The aim of this study is to compare the effectiveness on reducing medication errors of the manual prescription system (drugs transcribed in the clinical records) with a computerized system.


Drugs prescriptions (manual and electronic) were retrospectively analyzed to identify medication errors. A medication error is the lack of clarity and completedness of the prescription.


1587 prescriptions were analyzed with the manual prescription system (phase 1), 1500 with the provisional electronic system (phase 2) and 1034 with the final one (phase 3). Between phase 1 and 2 an increase of incomplete prescriptions for dose (+17%) and lack of completedness of prescription (+49%) was observed. After some modifications a decrease of "errors" was observed, respectively -39% and -23.5% (p<0.001).


The study shows that the informatization of the drug prescriptions reduces medication errors but requires a close planning, monitoring and tailoring of the system according to local problems and needs.

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