Understanding doctors' perceptions of their prescribing competency and the value they ascribe to an electronic prescribing system

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2012;178:1-6.


Resistance to adoption has been identified as one of the major barriers to successful implementation of technological systems in hospitals. Acceptance of an electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) system is expected to occur if prescribers perceive a need for e-prescribing systems to reduce prescribing errors. We set out to examine doctors' perceptions of their prescribing competency and to identify perceived advantages and disadvantages of using an e-prescribing system, with the objective of determining the value doctors ascribed to the e-prescribing system. This study was conducted at a teaching hospital in Sydney, Australia. Sixteen prescribers participated in a 20-minute semi-structured interview where they were asked to comment on prescribing errors (their own errors and errors they believed to be common) and advantages and disadvantages of the e-prescribing system. Prescribers held the view that they rarely made prescribing errors. Although users recognised advantages and disadvantages of using the e-prescribing system, most preferred paper to electronic prescribing. Prescribers most likely overestimated their prescribing competency and so failed to see the value of an e-prescribing system to reduce prescribing errors. E-prescribing system implementation is a challenging task for any hospital. These results suggest that keeping prescribers informed about their prescribing errors and the quality improvement benefits of e-prescribing may lead to greater acceptance of and satisfaction with an e-prescribing system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Computers*
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Electronic Prescribing*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / standards*
  • Victoria