Implementing a new drug record system: a qualitative study of difficulties perceived by physicians and nurses
- H:S Bispebjerg Hospital, Section of Clinical Pharmacology, Copenhagen and H:S Amager Hospital, Centre of Internal Medicine, Copenhagen, Denmark
- Correspondence to: S E Andersen MD, Rigshospitalet, Department of Clinical Pharmacology Q7642, Blegdamsvej 9, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark;
- Accepted 6 August 2001
Objectives: To identify organisational difficulties faced by physicians and nurses when using drug prescribing sheets for recording both drug prescriptions and drug administration.
Design: Qualitative interview study.
Setting: Two general internal medicine wards.
Participants: Seven physicians and eight nurses.
Main outcome measures: Difficulties explicitly identified by the participants during the interviews.
Results: The implementation of procedures conflicted with existing structure, culture, and routines. Insufficient competence within the system to use the drug prescribing sheets created resistance and made people down the line create their own interpretations and solutions to the problems they faced. A total of nine problems were identified: (1) insufficient knowledge and uncertainty about procedures, (2) ignorance of sources of error, (3) unclear responsibilities, (4) low community spirit, (5) insufficient communication, (6) clinician autonomy and low acceptance of change, (7) strong professional identity, (8) low priority task, and (9) logistical problems.
Conclusions: Unawareness of procedures, insufficient dissemination of knowledge, and insufficient cooperation and scepticism among those who put drug handling into practice is likely to have an impact on the quality of health care. The identification of these obstacles may help managers to improve the quality of the drug handling process on internal medicine wards and make it possible to select a framework for changing the clinical behaviour of doctors and nurses.