E-Prescribing: Improving Patient Safety and Care Outcomes
E-prescribing provides multiple benefits to physicians, patients and pharmacists alike. It gives prescribers a detailed insight into a patient's medical condition inside the consultation room, and simplifies medication order and delivery for patients and pharmacy employees.
Digital healthcare is having its moment. Hospitals and clinics around the world are continuously adapting to emerging technologies and getting their team onboard. Innovation is the new game and the way medical professionals and patients interact is rapidly changing. The end goals are to streamline physicians’ practice, optimize processes, enhance patient care and reduce costs.
A key driver and concrete component of digital health is the e-prescription system.
What is e-prescribing?
Digital prescriptions are medication orders generated electronically at the point of care. Patients use them to purchase medicines at pharmacies and doctors fall back on them while taking treatment decisions. e-prescribing increases accuracy, quality of care and patient safety due to the elimination of transcription or comprehension errors. This explains why digital prescriptions are gaining popularity in healthcare facilities around the world. Physicians are letting go of outdated prescribing methods and trusting the disruption that yields better results.
Electronic prescriptions positively impact health outcomes. Together with EHR/EMR (electronic health/medical records) software, they are reshaping how doctors and patients access, store and transmit critical medical information. EHR systems have radically transformed the way patient data is shared among care team members and coordinated care provided.
Notable advantages of digital prescriptions for patients
- Higher patient safety due to error-free Rxs
- Electronic sharing of e-prescriptions that mitigates the need for phone calls to pharmacies
- Alleviation of call-backs to physicians for clarification and decoding of handwriting
- Automation of refills and renewal requests for prescriptions
- Reduction in chances of losing or misplacing prescriptions
- Conducive prescribing method for online consultations due to patients’ 24/7 access to medical records
- Reduction in wait time at crowded pharmacies as e-prescriptions can be shared in advance
Benefits of e-prescribing for clinical practices
- Diminishes pharmacist and medication errors: E-prescriptions improve prescription accuracy and safety. They are easier and more lucid to understand in comparison to hand-written prescriptions. As a result, pharmacists and patients need to put in less time and effort to decipher the medication, dosage and treatment plan. Patients get the correct drugs and take them in the most accurate manner possible. E-prescriptions eliminate the possibility of incorrect dosage or other medication errors that can otherwise affect a patient’s health adversely.
- Provides instant safety alerts:Electronic medical records (EMRs) are repositories of patients’ medical histories as well as their present health status. They also store other relevant medical information, including patients’ allergies. During consultation, EHRs can alert physicians if a) a drug isn’t compatible with another prescription, b) it can prove harmful for a co-existing health condition, c) the patient is allergic to a certain medicine, d) the doctor has prescribed duplicate therapies or multiple treatments, or e) pregnancy, pediatric or geriatric issues exist as contraindications of a particular drug.
- Enhances prescription efficiency:E-prescribing allows physicians to escape the dreary and time-consuming task of drawing up prescriptions individually for every patient. They can generate and refill dozens of prescriptions faster and find time to review them thoroughly. When patients run out of medication unexpectedly, doctors can authorize an emergency Rx refill easily with digital prescriptions. This helps enhance prescription efficiency while minimizing emergency crisis and frequency of errors in repeat Rxs.
- Allows cost savings:Digital prescriptions are faster to generate and save physician’s precious time and effort during consultations. Less paper is wasted in documenting patient health records and healthcare facilities need to invest less in infrastructure to maintain those paper records. In the long run, this accrues to decreased overhead expenditures and more cost savings for practices that embrace EHR systems completely. More clarity and efficiency of e-prescribing also results in reduced patient queries, freeing up a lot of staff time in resolving them. Time savings allow medical specialists and clinic staff to attend more patients every day, thereby boosting revenues.
- Eases prescription refill requests:E-prescribing allows clinic staff to respond to prescription refill requests in a shorter span of time. Physicians can quickly review and authorize dozens of Rxs for patients. This reduces staff load, leaving them time to manage other important patient-centric tasks.
- Prevents prescription misuse:Paper prescriptions are susceptible to tampering and handwriting errors. Sometimes patients make unauthorized alterations by changing the drug name, quantity prescribed, dosage, number of refills or other instructions. On the other hand, digital prescriptions increase patient security and assure the pharmacist about the prescription's legitimacy.
- Streamlines pharmacy workflows:E-prescribing organizes prescription generation, transmission, processing and storage. Additionally, manual entering of prescriptions into computers is replaced with digital Rxs. This results in cost and time savings be it an in-clinic, off-site, chain or independent pharmacy. With digital prescriptions, patients face minimal queues and wait time at the pharmacy as they need not be present at the time of prescription filling. This is extremely beneficial for injured, weak, immunocompromised, pregnant and elderly patients. Together, higher safety and shorter wait time yields greater patient satisfaction with clinical and pharmacy services, boosting chances of patient retention.