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Patient safety features of clinical computer systems: questionnaire survey of GP views
  1. C J Morris1,
  2. B S P Savelyich2,
  3. A J Avery2,
  4. J A Cantrill1,
  5. A Sheikh3
  1. 1School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  2. 2Division of Primary Care, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  3. 3Division of Community Health Sciences: GP Section, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr C J Morris
 Research Fellow, The Drug Usage and Pharmacy Practice Group, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK;


Aim: To investigate general practitioners’ (GPs’) stated knowledge, use and training needs related to the patient safety features of computerised clinical systems in England.

Design: Questionnaire survey.

Subjects and setting: GPs from six English primary care trusts.

Outcome measures: GPs’ views on the importance of specified patient safety features on their computer system; their knowledge of the presence of specified safety features; previous training and perceived future training needs.

Results: Three hundred and eighty one GPs (64.0%) completed and returned the questionnaire. Although patient safety features were considered to be an important part of their computer system by the vast majority of GPs, many were unsure as to whether the system they were currently using possessed some of the specified features. Some respondents erroneously believed that their computers would warn them about potential contraindications or if an abnormal dose frequency had been prescribed. Only a minority had received formal training on the use of their system’s patient safety features.

Conclusions: Patient safety was an issue high on the agenda of this GP sample. The importance of raising GPs’ awareness of both the potential use and deficiencies of the patient safety features on their systems and ensuring that appropriate training is available should not be underestimated.

  • computer systems
  • GPs’ views
  • patient safety

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  • The study was funded by the National Patient Safety Agency.

  • No author has any conflict of interests to declare.