Did you know that electronic prescribing is improving patient safety? It’s true! In fact, studies have shown that when physicians use ePrescribing software, it can help reduce medication errors by as much as 50%!
In this article, we will discuss the benefits of electronic prescribing and how it is helping to improve patient safety.
What exactly is patient safety?
The World Health Organization defines it as ‘the prevention of avoidable harm to patients during the provision of healthcare.’ In other words, patient safety is about making sure that patients don’t experience any unnecessary or avoidable harm when they are under our care.
There are many factors that can contribute to patient safety and one of them is undoubtedly the use of electronic prescribing. Electronic prescribing is a process whereby physicians can write and send prescriptions electronically, using software that is connected to a pharmacy’s computer system. This means that there is no need for paper prescriptions, which can often be illegible or lost.
So, how does ePrescribing improve patient safety?
There are a number of ways in which ePrescribing can help to reduce the risk of harm to patients. These include:
- ePrescriptions cannot be lost or stolen.
That’s unlike paper prescriptions, which can easily go missing. This reduces the chances of patients receiving the wrong medication or dosage.
- ePrescriptions are less likely to be illegible.
Studies have shown that up to 20% of paper prescriptions are illegible, which can lead to errors. With ePrescribing, prescriptions are transmitted electronically and can be read clearly by pharmacists.
- ePrescriptions can help to avoid drug interactions.
When a physician uses ePrescribing software, they can enter patient information (such as allergies) which can then be checked for potential drug interactions. This helps to avoid prescribing medications that could interact with each other and cause harm to the patient.
- ePrescriptions can help to improve communication between healthcare providers.
When a prescription is sent electronically, the pharmacist can quickly and easily contact the prescribing physician if there are any questions about the medication or dosage. This allows for quick clarification and reduces the chances of errors.
As you can see, electronic prescribing has many benefits that all contribute to improved patient safety. If you are a physician who is not currently using ePrescribing software, it would be good to consider doing so, as it could make a big difference to your patients.
The dangers of medication errors
There are a number of potential consequences of medication errors, some of which can be serious or even life-threatening. For example, patients may experience an allergic reaction to a medication that they are intolerant to or they may receive the wrong dosage of a medication and suffer harmful side effects as a result. In extreme cases, patients have died as a direct result of medication errors.
Anything we can do to reduce the risk of medication errors is vitally important—and electronic prescribing is one way in which we can do that.
Like any new technology, ePrescribing does have its challenges. For instance, some physicians may find it difficult to use at first and it can take time to get used to the new system. But of course, not all ePrescribing solutions are created equal, and there are programs that are easier to learn than others.
Ultimately, we believe that the benefits of ePrescribing (particularly in terms of improved patient safety) far outweigh any challenges. So, are you taking advantage of this technology already?