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Electronic prescribing can save time and reduce medication errors

Divan (Divyang) Dave CEO of ISM-OmniMD

March 21, 2004 – Medical errors are problems that can happen at any stages in today’s healthcare environment. In fact, according to an institute of medicine report in1999.up to 98000 people die each year because of errors that could have easily been prevented Medical errors do not only happen in hospitals, it can also occur in the clinics, in outpatient department of hospitals and even at the pharmacy. Most of these errors are caused by illegible handwriting, incorrect dosage selections, drug-drug or drug allergy interactions. Electronic prescribing could substantially reduce these errors, however ironically the healthcare sector lags behind retails and financial sector in adopting the benefits of technology. Electronic Prescribing reveals how clinical automation can assure quality while improving workflow and reducing medication errors E-Prescribing simplifies the entire prescription writing process increasing the scope for accuracy and eliminating physical coordination. It allows providers to write their patients prescriptions directly from their PDA (pocket Pc or palm) or Desktop PC, selecting the appropriate medication and correct dosage, confirming the medication is included on the patient’s health plan formulary and send the prescription via fax or electronically to the pharmacy of the patient’s choice, so the medication is ready when patient arrives at pharmacy. At the same time, these healthcare professionals receive the critical Drug Utilization Review (DUR) information including drug-drug and drug-allergy interactions providing optimum decision making tools at a moment’s notice.

Most EMR systems are supported with e-Prescribing features, which form a backbone in simplifying medical processes and reducing medication errors. Some of the prime benefits to this are outlined below.

Create Quick Legible Prescriptions

With an easy to create prescription systems one can now do away with illegible prescriptions, which are prone to medication errors. The electronic prescribing is a step towards minimal coordination and eliminating time-consuming pharmacy coordination. Within seconds one can document and create prescriptions that are accurate and legible.

Right From “where You Are”

Prescriptions can be created right from the PDA, which stores a comprehensive drug database, patient list for the day and list of favorite prescriptions. With the avenue of creating prescriptions at the point of care the possibility of inaccuracy is eliminated, simultaneously making the process simpler.

Cutting Response Time

Each day the average physician writes 20 to 30 pharmacists to make phone calls to doctors’ offices for clarification such as formulary coverage, potential drug interactions, illegible handwriting, incorrect dosage etc. Providers can simply fax saved prescriptions to the pharmacy or print it at their office using Bluetooth or infrared printers. Everyone’s frustration is eliminated when pharmacists no longer need to call for clarification about a prescription or refills as they instantly get accurate and legible prescriptions.

Automatic DUR Checks

The system has an inbuilt workflow and alert system for intelligent drug utilization review (DUR) that alerts physicians of potential problems before filling specific prescriptions. It automatically checks allergies and drug interactions against the patient’s list of preciously prescribed drugs and known medication allergies that allow the physicians to dispense safe medication. It can eliminate up to 95%of adverse drug events.

Easy Refills management

Prescription refills become simpler, since with a simple click one can issue refills and automatically fax them to the pharmacy. This eliminates the need to re-enter redundant information, therefore reducing the instances of human error.

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