Published: 1 Apr 2009

By Jayapradha Edavalath, Research Analyst

Wireless Technology Boom: Conduit to E-Prescribing

The healthcare industry's transition from paper-based record to electronic record is witnessing yet another revolution- Electronic Prescription. Healthcare facilities of all sizes today are employing the advantage that comes with the mobility of wireless technologies. The market for wireless technology in Europe is becoming a 'mass market' and is increasingly gaining momentum. With the advent of wireless networking, many organizations are exploring how wireless mobility can change the way they work. The popularity of wireless and handheld devices is increasing in healthcare for its mobility and flexibility. Mobile and wireless healthcare means the mobile access to patient health record, prescription, clinical and pharmacy order entry (CPOE) and management systems and so on. The number of medical accidents due to prescribing errors is increasing, with more than 0.1 million lives being lost every year. Electronic prescribing and computer prescribing are gaining its importance in reducing medication errors and transcription errors in the ambulatory healthcare market by providing unambiguous, clear and timely information and thus saving lives.

E-Prescribing- A Consolidating Process

Electronic prescription systems can be defined as a solution that eliminates hand-written prescriptions from the health care services provided by physicians, other prescribers, and pharmacists. It has to be seen as a combination of three other separate services- Decision Support, Electronic Transmission of Prescriptions and Electronic Medical Records. The functional capabilities of the system extend up to integration into the electronic medical records (EMR), which includes the patient's medication history, eligibility checks, and formulary functions. Hence, an e-prescribing system is not only a simple tool to generate prescriptions electronically, but it is making the entire health care service more secure and reliable through electronic decision- making database systems. Hand-written prescriptions can be difficult to read, and also the authenticity of the prescription can be doubtful, as could be the case with prescription authorizations given over the phone and by fax. Some important information such as dosage, frequency of medication, and signature may also be missing in hand-written prescriptions. Electronic prescriptions not only consolidate the process of prescription for creating, transmitting, and checking authenticity, but it also makes it mandatory for all the important information to be present on the prescriptions for transmission.

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