Qualitative analysis of multi-disciplinary round-table discussions on the acceleration of benefits and data analytics through hospital electronic prescribing (ePrescribing) systems

Kathrin Cresswell, Jamie Coleman, Pam Smith, Charles Swainson, Ann Slee, Aziz Sheikh

Abstract


Background: Electronic systems that facilitate prescribing, administration and dispensing of medicines (ePrescribing systems) are at the heart of international efforts to improve the safety, quality and efficiency of medicine management. Considering the initial costs of procuring and maintaining ePrescribing systems, there is a need to better understand how to accelerate and maximise the financial benefits associated with these systems.

Objectives: We sought to investigate how different sectors are approaching the realisation of returns on investment from ePrescribing systems in U.K. hospitals and what lessons can be learned for future developments and implementation strategies within healthcare settings.

Methods: We conducted international, multi-disciplinary, round-table discussions with 21 participants from different backgrounds including policy makers, healthcare organisations, academic researchers, vendors and patient representatives. The discussions were audio-recorded, transcribed and then thematically analysed with the qualitative analysis software NVivo10.

Results: There was an over-riding concern that realising financial returns from ePrescribing systems was challenging. The underlying reasons included substantial fixed costs of care provision, the difficulties in radically changing the medicines management process and the lack of capacity within NHS hospitals to analyse and exploit the digital data being generated. Any future data strategy should take into account the need to collect and analyse local and national data (i.e. within and across hospitals), setting comparators to measure progress (i.e. baseline measurements) and clear standards guiding data management so that data are comparable across settings.

Conclusions: A more coherent national approach to realising financial benefits from ePrescribing systems is needed as implementations progress and the range of tools to collect information will lead to exponential data growth. The move towards more sophisticated closed-loop systems that integrate prescribing, administration and dispensing, as well as increasingly empowered patients accessing their data through portals and portable devices, will accelerate these developments. Meaningful analysis of data will be the key to realise benefits associated with systems.


Keywords


ePrescribing, data analytics, returns on investment

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14236/jhi.v23i2.178

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