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Electronic prescribing in paediatric secondary care: are harmful errors prevented?
  1. Andy Fox1,
  2. Jane Portlock2,
  3. David Brown3
  1. 1 Pharmacy, University Hospitals Southampton, Southampton, UK
  2. 2 School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK
  3. 3 School of Pharmacy, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Andy Fox, Pharmacy, University Hospitals Southampton, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK;{at}


Objective The aim of this research was to ascertain the effectiveness of current electronic prescribing (EP) systems to prevent a standardised set of paediatric prescribing errors likely to cause harm if they reach the patient.

Design Semistructured survey.

Setting UK hospitals using EP in the paediatric setting.

Outcome measures Number and type of erroneous orders able to be prescribed, and the level of clinical decision support (CDS) provided during the prescribing process.

Results 90.7% of the erroneous orders were able to be prescribed across the seven different EP systems tested. Levels of CDS varied between systems and between sites using the same system.

Conclusions EP systems vary in their ability to prevent harmful prescribing errors in the hospital paediatric setting. Differences also occur between sites using the same system, highlighting the importance of how a system is set up and optimised.

  • general paediatrics
  • neonatology
  • pharmacology

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  • Contributors AF conceptualised and designed the study, recruited the participants, analysed and interpreted the data, and drafted the initial manuscript. JP and DB reviewed the data, provided teaching and technical support, and supervised the overall study conduct and analysis. All authors critically revised and approved the final manuscript as submitted.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval The research protocol received a favourable opinion from the University of Portsmouth, Science Faculty Ethics Committee and the NHS Health Research Authority (HRA).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.