The effect of electronic medical record system use on communication between pharmacists and prescribers

BMC Fam Pract. 2015 Oct 28;16:155. doi: 10.1186/s12875-015-0378-7.


Background: The Electronic Medical Record (EMR) is becoming increasingly common in health care settings. Research shows that EMRs have the potential to reduce instances of medication errors and improve communication between pharmacists and prescribers; however, more research is required to demonstrate whether this is true. This study aims to determine the effect of a newly implemented EMR system on communication between pharmacists and primary care clinicians.

Methods: A retrospective chart analysis of primary care EMR data comparing faxed pharmacy communications captured before and after the implementation of an EMR system at an academic family medicine clinic. Communication requests were classified into the following various categories: refill accepted, refill denied, clarification, incorrect dose, interaction, drug insurance/coverage application, new prescription request, supplies request, continued care information, duplicate fax substitution, opioid early release request, confirmation by phone call, and other.

Results: The number and percentage of clarification requests, interaction notifications, and incorrect dose notifications were lower after the implementation of the EMR system. The number and percentage of refills accepted and new prescription requests increased after the implementation of the EMR system.

Conclusion: The implementation of an EMR in an academic family medicine clinic had a significant effect on the volume of communication between pharmacists and prescribers. The amount of clarification requests and incorrect dosing communications decreased after EMR implementation. This suggests that EMRs improve prescribing safety. The increased amount of refills accepted and new prescription requests post EMR implementation suggests that the EMR is capable of changing prescription patterns.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Pharmacists* / statistics & numerical data
  • Physicians* / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies