Effect of computerised prescribing on use of antibiotics

David A. Newby*, Jayne L. Fryer, David A. Henry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To examine whether the use of current prescribing software systems might raise rates of repeat prescribing, with a consequent increase in use of antibiotics in the community. Design and setting: A prospective audit of consecutive prescriptions for amoxycillin, cefaclor, roxithromycin and amoxycillin/clavulanate presented to community pharmacies in the Hunter region of New South Wales and a follow-up survey of people who received a repeat prescription, October to November 2000. Main outcome measures: The frequency of repeat prescription ordering on computer-generated and handwritten prescriptions; the proportion of people who filled their repeat prescription. Results: Data were collected for 1667 prescriptions presented to 35 pharmacies; 126 people who received repeat prescriptions completed the survey. The rate of repeat prescription ordering on computer-generated prescriptions was 69%, compared with 40% for handwritten prescriptions (odds ratio, 3.3; 95% CI, 2.6-4.2). Computer-generated repeat prescriptions were as likely to be filled as hand-written prescriptions (61% and 69%, respectively). Conclusions: The default settings on computerised prescribing packages result in a significant increase in the use of antibiotics. We estimate these settings result in about 500 000 additional prescriptions being filled annually in Australia for the four antibiotics in the study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-213
Number of pages4
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2003
Externally publishedYes


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