Differences in prescribing errors between electronic prescribing and traditional prescribing among medical students: A randomized pilot study

Samir El Abdouni*, Laura S. Kalfsvel, Wim J.R. Rietdijk, Hugo Van der Kuy, Floor van Rosse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Aims: 

This randomized controlled pilot study aimed to assess the differences in the frequency, type and severity of prescribing errors made by medical students when assessed in an electronic (e-)prescribing system compared to a traditional prescribing method (e.g., typing out a prescription). 

Methods: 

Fourth year medical students in the period of 1 November to 31 July 2023, were asked to participate in this single-centre prospective, randomized, controlled intervention study. Participants performed a prescribing assessment in either an e-prescribing system (intervention group) or in a more traditional prescribing platform (control group). The prescriptions were checked for errors, graded and categorized. Differences in prescribing errors, error categories and severity were analysed. 

Results: 

Out of 334 students, 84 participated in the study. Nearly all participants (98.8%) made 1 or more prescribing errors, primarily involving inadequate information errors. In the intervention group, more participants made prescribing errors involving the prescribed amount (71.4 vs. 19.0%; P <.01), but fewer involving administrative errors (2.4 vs. 19.0%; P =.03). Prescribing-method-specific errors were identified in 4.8 and 40.5% of the intervention and control group, respectively, with significant differences in overlapping errors as well. 

Conclusion: 

This pilot study shows the importance of training e-prescribing competencies in medical curricula, in addition to traditional prescribing methods. It identifies prescribing-method-specific prescribing errors and emphasizes the need for further research to define e-prescribing competencies. Additionally, the need for an accessible real-life-like e-prescribing environment tailored to educators and students is essential for effective learning and incorporation of e-prescribing into medical curricula.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Pharmacological Society.

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