Cost-effectiveness analysis of a hospital electronic medication management system

J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2015 Jul;22(4):784-93. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocu014. Epub 2015 Feb 10.


Objective: To conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis of a hospital electronic medication management system (eMMS).

Methods: We compared costs and benefits of paper-based prescribing with a commercial eMMS (CSC MedChart) on one cardiology ward in a major 326-bed teaching hospital, assuming a 15-year time horizon and a health system perspective. The eMMS implementation and operating costs were obtained from the study site. We used data on eMMS effectiveness in reducing potential adverse drug events (ADEs), and potential ADEs intercepted, based on review of 1 202 patient charts before (n = 801) and after (n = 401) eMMS. These were combined with published estimates of actual ADEs and their costs.

Results: The rate of potential ADEs following eMMS fell from 0.17 per admission to 0.05; a reduction of 71%. The annualized eMMS implementation, maintenance, and operating costs for the cardiology ward were A$61 741 (US$55 296). The estimated reduction in ADEs post eMMS was approximately 80 actual ADEs per year. The reduced costs associated with these ADEs were more than sufficient to offset the costs of the eMMS. Estimated savings resulting from eMMS implementation were A$63-66 (US$56-59) per admission (A$97 740-$102 000 per annum for this ward). Sensitivity analyses demonstrated results were robust when both eMMS effectiveness and costs of actual ADEs were varied substantially.

Conclusion: The eMMS within this setting was more effective and less expensive than paper-based prescribing. Comparison with the few previous full economic evaluations available suggests a marked improvement in the cost-effectiveness of eMMS, largely driven by increased effectiveness of contemporary eMMs in reducing medication errors.

Keywords: CPOE; adverse drug events; cost-effectiveness; decision analytic model hospital; electronic medication management system; electronic prescribing; inpatient care; medication error.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Decision Support Techniques
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / economics
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / prevention & control*
  • Hospital Costs
  • Humans
  • Medical Order Entry Systems / economics*
  • Medication Systems, Hospital / economics*
  • Models, Economic
  • New South Wales