Background: The penetration rate of Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems in health care is increasing. However, many different EHR-systems are used with varying ePrescription designs and functionalities. The aim of the present study was to evaluate experienced ePrescribers' attitudes towards ePrescribing for suggesting improvements.
Methods: Physicians (n = 431) from seven out of the 21 Swedish health care regions, using one of the six most widely implemented EHR-systems with integrated electronic prescribing modules, were recruited from primary care centers and hospital clinics of internal medicine, orthopaedics and surgery. The physicians received a web survey that comprised eight questions on background data and 19 items covering attitudes towards ePrescribing. Forty-two percent (n = 199) of the physicians answered the questionnaire; 90% (n = 180) of the respondents met the inclusion criteria and were included in the final analysis.
Results: A majority of the respondents regarded their EHR-system easy to use in general (81%), and for the prescribing of drugs (88%). Most respondents believed they were able to provide the patients better service by ePrescribing (92%), and regarded ePrescriptions to be time saving (91%) and to be safer (83%), compared to handwritten prescriptions. Some of the most frequently reported weaknesses were: not clearly displayed price of drugs (43%), complicated drug choice (21%), and the perception that it was possible to handle more than one patient at a time when ePrescribing (13%). Moreover, 62% reported a lack of receipt from the pharmacy after successful transmission of an ePrescription. Although a majority (73%) of the physicians reported that they were always or often checking the ePrescription a last time before transmitting, 25% declared that they were seldom or never doing a last check. The respondents suggested a number of improvements, among others, to simplify the drug choice and the cancellation of ePrescriptions.
Conclusion: The Swedish physicians in the group studied were generally satisfied with their specific EHR-system and with ePrescribing as such. However, identified weaknesses warrant improvements of the EHR-systems as well as of their implementation in the individual health care organisation.