Electronic prescribing in general practice

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Editor, – I am writing to express my concern over the amount of errors I have seen with computer-generated prescriptions. The most alarming example I saw recently was a prescription for fluvastatin which was meant to be Fluvax [influenza vaccine]. Aside from this I have also encountered numerous prescriptions with incorrect dosages (e.g. 14 nocte for Rulide [roxithromycin] 300 mg) and many examples of incorrect strengths (e.g. Adalat [nifedipine] 60 mg instead of 30 mg). There are also a huge number of prescriptions printed out as private when they clearly are not.

Nearly all of these mistakes can easily be picked up by the doctor with a quick check of the script they have just printed out and simply require a quick handwritten correction. Computer-generated prescriptions are certainly an enormous improvement over their handwritten counterparts, however improvements can still be made with a tiny amount of effort.

Chris Morris
Gold Coast, Qld.