Electronic prescribing needed in hospitals to monitor use of antibiotics

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 05 April 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:712
  1. Lisa Hitchen
  1. London

    The lack of electronic prescribing in English hospitals is hampering effective prescribing of antibiotics, says the Health Protection Agency.

    Giving patients the right treatment is fundamental, said Dr Andrew Pearson, deputy director of the agency's centre for infections, particularly in the case of severe illnesses such as those caused by Clostridium difficile infections.

    The bacterium C difficile is the most common cause of colitis linked to antibiotic use and is usually picked up in hospitals. The main symptom is diarrhoea, and risk factors for developing it include old age and long hospital stays.

    “We have got to get some form of computerised monitoring of our prescribing,” Dr Pearson told delegates at a conference on healthcare associated infections in London last week. “The problem is that very few hospitals in the UK have …

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