Electronic prescribing systems that reduce the possibility of human error could cut clinical negligence claims by more than 70 per cent, according to US hospital chain Banner Health.

The company, which has worked with national IT programme supplier Cerner to evaluate the impact of its electronic prescribing system, said systems that reduced the possibility of human errors such as illegible handwriting or misrecorded doses had led to a 72 per cent reduction in the cost of clinical negligence claims at one of the group’s hospitals.

The National Patient Safety Agency has estimated that 9 per cent of patient safety incidents relate to medication errors, which together constitute some 20 per cent of all clinical negligence claims against the NHS.

In 2007-08, the NHS Litigation Authority paid out approximately £64m in damages for cases involving misprescribing.

Banner Health’s system director for care transformation Judy Van Norman told HSJ: “Some clinical leadership in the hospitals are interested and enthused about being involved but the resources at the individual hospital level to really lead the adoption of this is a frustration.”