Methods for studying medication safety following electronic health record implementation in acute care: a scoping review

J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2024 Jan 18;31(2):499-508. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocad231.


Objectives: The objective of this scoping review is to map methods used to study medication safety following electronic health record (EHR) implementation. Patterns and methodological gaps can provide insight for future research design.

Materials and methods: We used the Joanna Briggs Institute scoping review methodology and a custom data extraction table to summarize the following data: (1) study demographics (year, country, setting); (2) study design, study period, data sources, and measures; (3) analysis strategy; (4) identified limitations or recommendations; (5) quality appraisal; and (6) if a Safety-I or Safety-II perspective was employed.

Results: We screened 5879 articles. One hundred and fifteen articles met our inclusion criteria and were assessed for eligibility by full-text review. Twenty-seven articles were eligible for extraction.

Discussion and conclusion: We found little consistency in how medication safety following EHR implementation was studied. Three study designs, 7 study settings, and 10 data sources were used across 27 articles. None of the articles shared the same combination of design, data sources, study periods, and research settings. Outcome measures were neither defined nor measured consistently. It may be difficult for researchers to aggregate and synthesize medication safety findings following EHR implementation research. All studies but one used a Safety-I perspective to study medication safety. We offer a conceptual model to support a more consistent approach to studying medication safety following EHR implementation.

Keywords: conceptual framework; electronic health record; medication safety; resilience engineering; safety-II.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Critical Care*
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Humans