From the Collaborative Research Unit, Department of Medicine, Cook County Hospital, Chicago, Ill (Dr Schiff), and the College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago (Dr Rucker).
Computerized prescribing in the practice of medicine is a change that
is overdue. Virtually all prescriptions in the United States are still handwritten.
Instead, medications should be ordered on a computer interacting with 3 databases;
patient drug history, scientific drug information and guideline reference,
and patient-specific (weight, laboratory) data. Current problems with prescribing
on which computerized prescribing could have a positive impact include (1)
drug selection; (2) patient role in pharmacotherapy risk-benefit decision
making; (3) screening for interactions (drug-drug, drug-laboratory, drug-disease);
(4) linkages between laboratory and pharmacy; (5) dosing calculations and
scheduling; (6) coordination between team members, particularly concerning
patient education; (7) monitoring and documenting adverse effects; and (8)
postmarketing surveillance of therapy outcomes. Computerized prescribing is
an important component of clinician order entry. Development of this tool
has been impeded by a number of conceptual, implementation, and policy barriers.
Overcoming these constraints will require clinically and professionally guided
vision and leadership.
Schiff GD, Rucker TD. Computerized PrescribingBuilding the Electronic Infrastructure for Better Medication Usage. JAMA. 1998;279(13):1024-1029. doi:10.1001/jama.279.13.1024