E-Prescribing: Improving Patient Safety and Care Outcomes
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 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 to take treatment decisions. e-prescribing increases patient safety, accuracy and quality of care 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 Physicians are letting go of outdated prescribing methods and trusting this disruption to yield better results.
Electronic prescriptions positively impact health outcomes. Together with EHR (electronic medical records), they are reshaping how doctors and patients access, store and transmit critical medical information. EHR systems have transformed the way patient data is shared among providers and how decisions regarding treatment plans are made.
Notable advantages of digital prescription for patients
- Notable advantages of digital prescription for patients
- Mitigates the need for phone calls to pharmacies as e-prescriptions can be shared electronically
- Alleviates call-backs to physicians for clarification and decoding of handwriting
- Automates refills and renewal requests for prescriptions
- Decreases chances of losing or misplacing prescriptions
- Conducive for online consultation as patients can access medical records 24/7 from home
- Reduces wait time at crowded pharmacies as e-prescriptions can be shared beforehand
Benefits of e-prescribing for clinical practices
- Diminishes medication and pharmacist 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 way possible. This allows e-prescriptions to eliminate the possibility of incorrect dosage or other medication errors that can otherwise harm a patient adversely.
- Provides instant safety alerts:Electronic medical records software (EMRs) are repositories of patients’ medical histories as well as their present health status. They also store other relevant medical information about patients, including their allergies. At the moment of consultation, the EHR 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 and geriatric issues exist that contraindicate a particular medicine.
- Enhances prescription efficiency:E-prescribing allows physicians to escape the dreary and time-consuming process of drawing up prescriptions individually for each 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 and minimizes frequency of errors and emergency crisis.
- Allows cost savings:Digital prescriptions are faster to generate and help 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 adopt EHR systems. More clarity and efficiency of e-prescribing also results in reduced patient queries and freeing up a lot of staff time in resolving them.
- Eases prescription refill requests:E-prescribing allows clinic staff to respond to prescription refill requests in a short span of time. Physicians need to quickly review and authorize dozens of Rxs before all the patients receive them. This reduces staff load, leaving them with the 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. Digital prescriptions increase patient security and ensure the pharmacist of the physician's authority.
- Streamlines pharmacy workflows:E-prescribing organizes prescription generation, transmission, processing and storage. Additionally, manual entering of prescriptions into computers is replaced by digital Rxs. This results in cost and time savings no matter it’s 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. Particularly, 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.