GP systems safety fear

The safety of GP's IT systems has been called into question by research showing commonly used software fails to alert doctors to...

The safety of GP's IT systems has been called into question by research showing commonly used software fails to alert doctors to conflicting prescribing practices.

Using hypothetical clinical data in 18 dangerous prescribing scenarios, researchers from Nottingham, Edinburgh and Kent showed that none of the four most popular practice systems managed to produce alerts for all the situations. The best-performing software picked up seven instances of dangerous prescribing, and the worst identified just three.

None of the systems generated alerts for some scenarios, such as prescribing aspirin to an eight-year-old child, according to the report published last week in the British Medial Journal.

The work was funded by the National Patient Safety Agency. The results will be used by system suppliers and the national programme for IT to help improve practice system safety.

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