With the advent of new electronic means of managing patient health records, there are now additional ways in which prescription errors can take place.
For example, PCEHR, the Personally Controlled eHealth Record System, was adopted in June 2012 in Australia. It is a health information database designed for use by patients, and according to the National E-Health Transition Authority's website, "is currently distributed across a wide range of locations including their general practices, hospitals, imaging centres, specialists, and allied health practices." In essence, the PCEHR is somewhat like an all encompassing electronic health record of a patient. The aim of the program is to make the healthcare system more streamlined and efficient, allowing patients to effectively "share" it with relevant care providers.
A recent article entitled "Pharmacy Error Probable Cause of PCEHR Problem," which was published appropriately enough in Australia's eHealth Magazine, details how one woman's PCEHR somehow received not one but two incorrect prescriptions.
The author reported that she discovered that two prescriptions had been added to her PCEHR. The prescriptions were for drugs that had never been prescribed to her, and were for medical conditions that she did not have.
The drugs were not only written into her record, but apparently were also dispensed by her local pharmacy, even though a notice regarding a consultation at the time they were allegedly dispensed was lacking. The relevant government agency encouraged the woman to inquire with the pharmacy regarding the error, and in doing so the pharmacy cancelled the prescriptions on her patient file. Within a day of the pharmacy's correction, the woman's PCEHR was also updated. However, the government told the woman that the same prescription had actually been dispensed on an additional occasion, from a different pharmacy.