Protocol for a qualitative study to identify strategies to optimise hospital ePrescribing systems

Catherine Heeney, Stephen Malden, Aziz Sheikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Electronic prescribing (ePrescribing) is a key area of development and investment in the UK and across the developed world. ePrescribing is widely understood as a vehicle for tackling medication-related safety concerns, improving care quality and making more efficient use of health resources. Nevertheless, implementation of an electronic health record does not itself ensure benefits for prescribing are maximised. We examine the process of optimisation of ePrescribing systems using case studies to provide policy recommendations based on the experiences of digitally mature hospital sites.

Methods and analysis
Qualitative interviews within six digitally mature sites will be carried out. The aim is to capture successful optimisation of electronic prescribing (ePrescribing) in particular health systems and hospitals. We have identified hospital sites in the UK and in three other developed countries. We used a combination of literature reviews and advice from experts at Optimising ePrescribing in Hospitals (eP Opt) Project round-table events. Sites were purposively selected based on geographical area, innovative work in ePrescribing/electronic health (eHealth) and potential transferability of practices to the UK setting. Interviews will be recorded and transcribed and transcripts coded thematically using NVivo software. Relevant policy and governance documents will be analysed, where available. Planned site visits were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ethics and dissemination 
The Usher Research Ethics Group granted approval for this study. Results will be disseminated via peer-reviewed journals in medical informatics and expert round-table events, lay member meetings and the ePrescribing Toolkit (—an online resource supporting National Health Service (NHS) hospitals through the ePrescribing process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number1
Early online date13 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Protocol for a qualitative study to identify strategies to optimise hospital ePrescribing systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this