Using the electronic medical record to enhance the use of combination drugs

Wells BJ, Lobel KD, Dickerson LM
Am J Med Qual
Publication Date: 
2003 Jul-Aug
  • HIT Description: Electronic point-of-care reminders attached to medication section of the electronic medical record system More info...
  • Purpose of Study: Increase combination drug prescriptions through the use of electronic point-of-care reminders in order to reduce medication cost
  • Years of study: Sep. 2001-March 2002
  • Study Design: Pre-post
  • Outcomes: Conversion rate to combination drug and cost savings.
  • Settings: The Medical University of South Carolina Department of Family Medicine, a residency training program with approximately 47 providers, 50,000 patient visits per year.
  • Intervention: All prescriptions were generated in the Electronic Medical Record. Point-of-care reminders were attached to the medication section of the EMR for each eligible patient, and required a manual keystroke to make it disappear from the middle of the screen.
  • Evaluation Method: Chart review.
  • Description: The electronic medical record (EMR) was used to identify candidate patients for combination drugs and to display point-of-care reminders.
  • Implementation: The department has used an EMR since the 1970s.
  • Healthcare Utilization: 27% (47) of the 175 patients seen at the clinic during the 6 months of the study were switched from individual medications to an appropriate combination medication.
  • Quality of Care and Patient Safety Outcome: Unable to compare because of the relatively small size and heterogeneity of patients.
  • Changes in healthcare costs: Annual savings per patient for the 3 combination medications range from $108.00 to $162.30 (year of dollar not specified). Therefore, there was a total annual savings of $6,159.30.