Evaluating user satisfaction with an electronic prescription system in a primary care group

Woan Shin Tan, Jonathan Sk Phang, Lay Kheng Tan
Annals of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore 2009, 38 (6): 494-7

INTRODUCTION: Electronic prescribing has been proposed as an important strategy to reduce medication errors, improve the quality of patient care and create savings in health care costs. Despite these potential advantages, user satisfaction plays a significant role in the success of its implementation. Hence, this study aims to examine users' satisfaction and factors associated with satisfaction regarding an electronic prescription system implemented in the National Healthcare Group Polyclinics in Singapore.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: An anonymous survey was administered in October 2007 to all physicians, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians working in the 9 National Healthcare Group Polyclinics.

RESULTS: Respondents included 118 doctors and 61 pharmacy staff. The overall level of satisfaction with electronic prescribing was high. Doctors and pharmacists reported a high degree of agreement that electronic prescribing reduces prescribing errors and interventions, and they did not want to go back to the paper-based system. Users were generally satisfied with the functionality of the system but there was some degree of workflow interference particularly for the pharmacy staff. Only 56.9% of the pharmacy respondents expressed satisfaction with the review function of the electronic prescription system and only 51.8% and 60% were satisfied when processing prescriptions that included items to be purchased from an external pharmacy or prescriptions with amendments. The results also revealed that satisfaction with the system was more associated with users' perceptions about the electronic prescription system's impact on productivity than quality of care.

CONCLUSION: The survey results indicate that the implementation of the electronic prescription system has gone reasonably well. The survey findings provide opportunities for system and workflow enhancement, which is important as these issues could affect the acceptability of a new technology and the speed of diffusion within an organisation.


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