However, despite early gain, adopters continue to describe a number of limitations and risks associated with eMM. These range from selecting the wrong drug from electronic pick lists, irrelevant alerts that reduce productivity, and lack of support for complex prescribing scenarios, to sporadic adoption due to lack of integration or usability and accessibility issues.
The adoption of eMM systems does, however, continue to gather pace. Few, if any, organizations have pulled the plug on implemented solutions by reverting to a paper-based system. The benefits of eMM outweigh the negatives. For example, while the reduction of medication errors remains difficult to measure — largely because institutions typically don’t have reliable statistics from pre-implementation — eMM provides the capability to measure errors reliably going forward and provides better opportunity to initiate change to reduce the risk. More importantly, these systems can identify potential errors before they are made by invoking decision support and providing standards-based approaches to prescribing. eMM systems need to respond to potential sources of error by improving usability, by delivering robust decision support, by supporting all prescribing scenarios so clinicians don’t need to work between paper and electronic systems, and by providing fully integrated solutions so data does not get lost or misinterpreted between separate systems.
To gain maximum benefit from eMM systems and avoid the pitfalls that are still possible, we have summarized lessons learned by early adopters.