A recent study estimates that the electronic prescribing systems market will grow to $794 million by 2017. As governments move towards the use of electronic health records for their citizens, e-prescribing systems becoming a larger part of the prescription market, especially in the US and the UK.
E-prescribing systems bring many benefits. As the world grows more interconnected, patients increasingly expect prompt, secure transfer of health information. E-prescribing makes information transfer possible, enabling the development of a global health care structure. It also reduces worryingly high rates of medication errors and saves time and money.
Reducing medication errors is a significant benefit of e-prescribing systems. E-prescribing software can now screen for dosing accuracy, drug-drug interactions, and drug allergies. It can also inform providers about generic equivalents and formulary preferences. Think you know how often prescription errors occur in the UK? Click on the image below and take the quiz created by medical solicitors Patient Claim Line to find out.
E-prescribing software can do a lot to avoid medication errors, but they do have some downsides. They can cost a significant amount of money to implement. As with any IT project, implementation and integration with current systems can be more difficult than imagined, leading to systems that over-promise but under-deliver.
Even with these potential downsides, the significant benefits of e-prescribing make it an important trend. Governments are encouraging hospitals and pharmacists to invest, meaning that expenditure on e-health will increase as a percentage of national health budgets in this decade.
As technology continues to advance, it is hopeful that these problems will be resolved and e-prescribing will yield significantly more benefits than risks for patients, providers, and pharmacists.