Background Electronic prescribing (ePrescribing) or computerised provider/physician order entry (CPOE) systems can improve the quality and safety of health services, but the translation of this into reduced harm for patients remains unclear. This review aimed to synthesise primary qualitative research relating to how stakeholders experience the adoption of ePrescribing/CPOE systems in hospitals, to help better understand why and how healthcare organisations have not yet realised the full potential of such systems and to inform future implementations and research. Methods We systematically searched 10 bibliographic databases and additional sources for citation searching and grey literature, with no restriction on date or publication language. Qualitative studies exploring the perspectives/experiences of stakeholders with the implementation, management, use and/or optimisation of ePrescribing/CPOE systems in hospitals were included. Quality assessment combined criteria from the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme Qualitative Checklist and the Standards for Reporting Qualitative Research guidelines. Data were synthesised thematically. Results 79 articles were included. Stakeholders' perspectives reflected a mixed set of positive and negative implications of engaging in ePrescribing/CPOE as part of their work. These were underpinned by further-reaching change processes. Impacts reported were largely practice related rather than at the organisational level. Factors affecting the implementation process and actions undertaken prior to implementation were perceived as important in understanding ePrescribing/CPOE adoption and impact. Conclusions Implementing organisations and teams should consider the breadth and depth of changes that ePrescribing/CPOE adoption can trigger rather than focus on discrete benefits/problems and favour implementation strategies that: consider the preimplementation context, are responsive to (and transparent about) organisational and stakeholder needs and agendas and which can be sustained effectively over time as implementations develop and gradually transition to routine use and system optimisation.
- Electronic prescribing
- Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE)
- Systematic Review
- Qualitative Research
- Thematic Synthesis