Usability of computerised physician order entry in primary care: assessing ePrescribing with a new evaluation model

Lovisa Hagstedt, Carl Rudebeck, G_ran Petersson


Background The incorrect use of medications may result from improper prescribing. The poor interface and design of computerised physician order entry (CPOE) systems may contribute. To improve the quality of electronic drug prescription, ePrescribing, there is a need for an evaluation model that is able to assess the quality of the CPOE, focusing on usability.
Objective To develop and apply a model to evaluate the usability of different CPOEs used for ePrescribing in electronic health records (EHRs) in primary care.
Method An evaluation model for CPOEs was designed by assembling existing quality criteria for ePrescribing, supplemented with new criteria. The evaluation model was used to assess CPOEs from seven EHRs in primary care.
Results The evaluation model included five categories comprising 73 single criteria. The model was found to be easy to use, and facilitated the assessment process. Evaluation of the EHRs revealed differences and similarities between the systems. None of the CPOEs was perfect in that all of them had distinct shortcomings. The most prominent deficiencies were a non-intuitive interface and incorrect dosage function.
Conclusion The model developed might be used not only to evaluate usability in ePrescribing, but also as a basis for studying the usability of other CPOEs. To reduce the risk of drugs being prescribed with incorrect dosages, the most urgent improvement is the development of a more consistent and intuitive interface for the EHRs and an improvement in the dosage function.


computerised; electronic prescribing; medical record system; primary health care; program evaluation/methods

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