Table 1

A summary of the key considerations when defining the research question, and their implications for this scoping review15

Key considerations when defining the research questionImplications for our scoping review
What are the important concepts to define?Must clearly define:
  • ePrescribing: ‘The utilisation of electronic systems to facilitate and enhance the communication of a prescription or medicine order, aiding the choice, administration and supply of a medicine through knowledge and decision support and providing a robust audit trail for the entire medicines use process.’19

  • Optimisation: ‘The activity of enhancing system capabilities and integration of subsystem elements to the extent that all components operate at or above user expectations.’20

Who is the target population?The lessons from the study should be applied to the healthcare system in the NHS. Included studies should therefore reflect this.
What are the outcomes of interest?
  • What are the approaches being used to achieve optimisation of ePrescribing systems, and in relation to these approaches what are the:

    • Resource implications (ie, time/money, and so on).

    • Likely impacts (both positive and negative).

    • Acceptability.

  • Identify benchmark national and international hospitals and develop a detailed appreciation of the approaches they have pursued.

  • Identify relevant lessons in relation to systems optimisation for widespread adoption across the NHS at scale.

What is the purpose of the work?The purpose of the study is to develop policy-relevant insights into how best to achieve ePrescribing systems optimisation in the NHS.
What is the envisioned outcome?
  1. A description of the range of approaches used for optimisation.

  2. A description of the types of ePrescribing systems that have been deployed in the trade-offs between costs and benefits.

  3. A road map of relatively easy ‘quick-win’ optimisation strategies versus optimisation strategies that are more resource intensive and difficult to achieve.

  4. A map of countries and health systems showing where the evidence in this field is originating.

  5. Develop a list of the key investigators/opinion leaders in this field.

  6. A short summary of included literature, to be disseminated as an available resource through the ePrescribing Toolkit,

  • NHS, National Health Service.