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Understanding doctors' perceptions of their prescribing competency and the value they ascribe to an electronic prescribing system.

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Australian Institute of Health Innovation, University of New South Wales.


Resistance to adoption has been identified as one of the major barriers to successful implementation of technological systems in hospitals. Acceptance of an electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) system is expected to occur if prescribers perceive a need for e-prescribing systems to reduce prescribing errors. We set out to examine doctors' perceptions of their prescribing competency and to identify perceived advantages and disadvantages of using an e-prescribing system, with the objective of determining the value doctors ascribed to the e-prescribing system. This study was conducted at a teaching hospital in Sydney, Australia. Sixteen prescribers participated in a 20-minute semi-structured interview where they were asked to comment on prescribing errors (their own errors and errors they believed to be common) and advantages and disadvantages of the e-prescribing system. Prescribers held the view that they rarely made prescribing errors. Although users recognised advantages and disadvantages of using the e-prescribing system, most preferred paper to electronic prescribing. Prescribers most likely overestimated their prescribing competency and so failed to see the value of an e-prescribing system to reduce prescribing errors. E-prescribing system implementation is a challenging task for any hospital. These results suggest that keeping prescribers informed about their prescribing errors and the quality improvement benefits of e-prescribing may lead to greater acceptance of and satisfaction with an e-prescribing system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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