For decades, a growing urgency to upgrade the safety and efficacy of medication use has not prompted sufficient improvement. We still use medications in unsafe ways that frequently harm people. There is a global need to do better. Much better.

Advances in information technology and automation could transform pharmacy practice and improve medication use worldwide. Therefore, a major research program to study the medication use process rigorously – including the process of prescription review in pharmacies – is needed.

The results of future studies should guide the blending of human and automated intelligence to prevent harm and improve medication use overall.


It may be possible to improve the safety and value of medication use by providing pharmacists with more time to help people achieve better health outcomes through comprehensive medication management and care planning with routine outcomes evaluation.

To help pharmacists shift their work with patients to approaches that are comprehensive, team-based, and outcomes focused, the process of new medication prescription review should be studied rigorously with an eye towards its partial automation.

The core question motivating this research story is, “Can advanced computing partially automate new prescription review in a safe and effective way so that expert pharmacists can shift their attention to achieving better overall medication use value?”

If future comparative studies of the mostly manual process of clinical medication prescription review versus the more highly automated process of statistical medication prescription review reveal that one of these two processes is clearly safer and more effective than the other, or that a hybrid of the two is better than either process alone, then new medication prescription reviews by pharmacists – which are done billions of times each year – will be better for it. Regardless of the outcome of the process comparison noted above, other important byproducts of this scientific work will include formalization, standardization, and greater insight into the process of reviewing new medication prescriptions done by pharmacists working inside the world’s pharmacies.


The Science of Prescription Review @ is edited by Allen J. Flynn, Pharm.D., Ph.D. The work of many scientists, practitioners, and other clever folks is discussed and represented here with a strong emphasis on improving pharmacy practice.

All of the figures and graphics on this site were created by Allen J. Flynn.