Aims: Electronic prescribing systems may improve medication safety, but only when used appropriately. The effects of task analysis-based training on clinical, learning and behavioural outcomes were evaluated in the outpatient setting, compared with the usual educational approach.
Methods: This was a multicentre, cluster randomized trial [EDUCATional intervention for IT-mediated MEDication management (MEDUCATE trial)], with physicians as the unit of analysis. It took place in the outpatient clinics of two academic hospitals. Participants comprised specialists and residents (specialty trainees, in the UK) and their patients. Training took the form of a small-group session and an e-learning. The primary outcome was the proportion of medication discrepancies per physician, measured as discrepancies between medications registered by physicians in the electronic prescribing system and those reported by patients. Clinical consequences were estimated by the proportion of patients per physician with at least one missed drug-drug interaction with the potential for causing adverse drug events. A questionnaire assessed physicians' knowledge and skills.
Results: Among 124 participating physicians, primary outcome data for 115 (93%) were available. A total of 1094 patients were included. A mean of 48% of registered medications per physician were discrepant with the medications that their patients reported in both groups (P = 0.14). Due to registration omissions, a mean of 4% of patients per physician had one or more missed drug-drug interactions with the potential to cause a clinically relevant adverse drug event in the intervention group, and 7% in controls (P = 0.11). The percentages of correct answers on the knowledge and skills test were higher in the intervention group (57%) compared with controls (51%; P = 0.01).
Conclusion: The training equipped outpatient physicians with the knowledge and skills for appropriate use of electronic prescribing systems, but had no effect on medication discrepancies.

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British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Stiphout, F., Zwart-van Rijkom, J., Versmissen, J., Koffijberg, H., Aarts, J., van der Sijs, H., … ter Braak, E. W. M. T. (2018). Effects of training physicians in electronic prescribing in the outpatient setting on clinical, learning and behavioural outcomes. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. doi:10.1111/bcp.13540