E-prescription and its Advantages


E-prescription and its Advantages

Medicines are meant to provide cure but often play the opposite role with illegible handwritten prescriptions, incorrect medicine doses, which cause adverse drug effects. With all these grave issues casting a cloud over the quality of health care, government has realized the significance of adopting and implementing e-prescribing, which can contribute effectively towards preventing such actions in future.

As one of the features of Electronic health records, e prescriptions plays a significant role in improving health quality, safety, and efficiency .As a part of meaningful use, every practicing physician and hospitals are required to e prescribe medicines to their patients.

What are the benefits of e-prescription?

  • E-prescriptions reduce medication errors that occur due to illegible prescriptions, where a pharmacist may supply wrong dosage or an incorrect medicine due to poorly written prescriptions.
  • Since all electronic health records are designed with a clinical decision support tool, it pops up clinical alerts when a doctor wrongly suggests a drug to a patient with a documented allergy thereby also lowering the errors of commission.
  • Many a times due to illegible prescriptions, pharmacists spend several calls to physicians to double check against the handwritten prescription. This action reduces greatly with e-prescription, thereby saving a lot of time for physicians, staff, and pharmacist.
  • Simplifies inventory listings, because since everything is on the system, there is no need to update the data manually after a medicine has been purchased at the pharmacy.

The Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, had done a study on how e-prescription within an electronic health record reduces ambulatory prescribing errors and their findings are graphically presented below:

Graph on Eprescription is better than paper prescription

As per this graph and as per the survey, the error rates for e-prescribing adopters decreased from 26.0 errors per 100 prescriptions at baseline to 16.0 errors per 100 prescriptions at one year. Error rates remained unchanged for non adopters at 37.3 per 100 prescriptions at baseline versus 38.4 per 100 prescriptions at one year. Error rates for e-prescribing adopters were significantly lower than for non adopters at one year. Illegibility errors were high at baseline and eliminated by e-prescription.

Thus this study done at ambulatory care facilities and community service centres have created a positive impact in favour of e prescribing and with its convincing data might encourage many organisations and physicians to adopt electronic health records and practice e-prescription.

E-prescriptions can therefore resolve several issues pertaining to medication errors and contribute towards enhancing care quality and  safety for patients along with increasing efficiency of the staff and physicians.

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