, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 289-298
Date: 21 Nov 2012

The Role of Computerized Decision Support in Reducing Errors in Selecting Medicines for Prescription

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This narrative review includes a summary of research examining prescribing errors, prescription decision making and the role computerized decision support plays in this decision-making process. A reduction in medication prescribing errors, specifically a reduction in the selection of inappropriate medications, is expected to result from the implementation of an effective computerized decision support system. Previous research has investigated the impact of the implementation of electronic systems on medication errors more broadly. This review examines the specific characteristics of decision support systems that may contribute to fewer knowledge-based mistakes in prescribing, and critically appraises the large volume of information available on the decision-making process of selecting medicines for prescription. The results highlight a need for work investigating what decision strategies are used by doctors with different levels of expertise in the prescribing of medications. The nature of the relationship between decision support and decision performance is not well understood and future research is needed to determine the mechanisms by which computerized decision support influences medication selection.