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Durham e-Theses
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An investigation of healthcare professionals’ experiences of training and using electronic prescribing systems: four literature reviews and two qualitative studies undertaken in the UK hospital context

TOLLEY, CLARE,LOUISE (2018) An investigation of healthcare professionals’ experiences of training and using electronic prescribing systems: four literature reviews and two qualitative studies undertaken in the UK hospital context. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Electronic prescribing (ePrescribing) is the process of ordering medicines electronically for a patient and has been associated with reduced medication errors and improved patient safety. However, these systems have also been associated with unintended adverse consequences. There is a lack of published research about users’ experiences of these systems in UK hospitals. The aim of this research was therefore to firstly describe the literature pertaining to the recent developments and persisting issues with ePrescribing and clinical decision support systems (CDS) (chapter 2). Two further systematic literature reviews (chapters 3 and 4) were then conducted to understand the unintended consequences of ePrescribing and clinical decision support (CDS) systems across both adult and paediatric patients. These revealed a taxonomy of factors, which have contributed to errors during use of these systems e.g., the screen layout, default settings and inappropriate drug-dosage support. The researcher then conducted a qualitative study (chapters 7-10) to explore users’ experiences of using and being trained to use ePrescribing systems. This study involved conducting semi-structured interviews and observations, which revealed key challenges facing users, including issues with using the ‘Medication List’ and how information was presented. Users experienced benefits and challenges when customising the system, including the screen display; however, the process was sometimes overly complex. Users also described the benefits and challenges associated with different forms of interruptive and passive CDS. Order sets, for instance, encouraged more efficient prescribing, yet users often found them difficult to find within the system. A lack of training resulted in users failing to use all features of the ePrescribing system and left some healthcare staff feeling underprepared for using the system in their role. A further literature review (chapter 5) was then performed to complement emerging themes relating to how users were trained to use ePrescribing systems, which were generated as part of a qualitative study. This review revealed the range of approaches used to train users and the need for further research in this area. The literature review and qualitative study-based findings led to a follow-on study (chapter 10), whereby the researcher conducted semi-structured interviews to examine how users were trained to use ePrescribing systems across four NHS Hospital Trusts. A range of approaches were used to train users; tailored training, using clinically specific scenarios or matching the user’s profession to that of the trainer were preferred over lectures and e-learning may offer an efficient way of training large numbers of staff. However, further research is needed to investigate this and whether alternative approaches such as the use of students as trainers could be useful.

This programme of work revealed the importance of human factors and user involvement in the design and ongoing development of ePrescribing systems. Training also played a role in users’ experiences of using the system and hospitals should carefully consider the training approaches used. This thesis provides recommendations gathered from the literature and primary data collection that can help inform organisations, system developers and further research in this area.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Medicine and Health, School of
Thesis Date:2018
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:23 Oct 2018 09:51

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