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Prescribing errors can be cut using IT

The GMC study on prescribing errors reveals just how complex prescribing decisions are.

As a former GP, I know all too well that there are times when we need to balance one risk against another – this is often not evident when reviewing the prescription in isolation.

It is worth noting, however, that the smart software called for by the GMC is already being implemented – and an increasing number of GPs and pharmacists have sophisticated tools to make prescribing safer.

Integrated record systems include advanced decision support for prescribing, which flags up key drug safety alerts that make GPs stop and think and even justify their decision, circumventing ‘alert fatigue'.

These systems also allow GPs to monitor and manage patients on drugs with a low therapeutic index, such as warfarin, more safely.

GPs and community pharmacies are already collaborating when making complex prescribing decisions and are realising the benefits in terms of patient safety, compliance and improved


From Dr Shaun O'Hanlon  

Clinical and development director, EMIS