Quality assessment of information about medications in primary care electronic patient record (EPR) systems

Maria Pous, Marco Camporese, Alessandro Nobili, Serena Frau, Francesco DelZotti, Anita Conforti, Roberta Zimol, Guido Giustetto, Giulia Zermiani, Giuseppe Lombardo, Luigi Mezzalira


Background Many different brands of primary care electronic patient record (EPR) software are available to general practitioners (GPs). Their ability to support GPs in improving prescribing varies greatly.
Objective To assess, using a ten-item tool, the quality of drug information provided by EPR software to support the appropriateness of prescriptions and to propose a list of quality standards for this type of application.
Methods The eight EPR programmes most used in general practice in Italy were assessed by a multidisciplinary team using the ten-item tool. The tool evaluated information on single drugs and drug safety and information on prescription rules in force.
Results Out of eight EPR programmes assessed, none scored more than 55% of the maximum possible score. Two achieved scores higher than 50%, one scored 48%, four ranged from 32% to 39% and one obtained 22%. Information on drug safety, such as the ability to detect interactions, to monitor laboratory parameters or to get updated information on drug safety was particularly limited. None of the eight EPR programmes contained drug information for patients, but two of them contained drug advertising.
Conclusions This project highlighted the poor quality of drug information provided by these EPR programmes. The ten-item tool seems suitable for assessing their quality. Based on this analysis, we have proposed a set of ten quality standards for prescribing software.


computerised medical records systems; electronic prescribing; medical informatics; MeSH; quality healthcare indicators; software validation

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14236/jhi.v18i2.760


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