Every year, the Food and Drug Administration receives over 100,000 reports on medication errors. Healthcare workers see the solution for this problem in using e-prescribing software. Implementing the right features in such custom healthcare software will make it beneficial for business.
What e-prescribing software is
E-prescribing software is a program that helps doctors efficiently write prescriptions. The system allows them to find any product leaflets, create prescriptions in a few steps, and instantly send them to pharmacies.
E-prescribing software operates on multiple devices and is accessed from anywhere round-the-clock. This program can be integrated with other healthcare systems like EHR/EMR and TeleHealth solutions. E-prescribing software is becoming such a popular way of working with prescriptions that programs for narrow-focused specialists – dentists, ORT specialists, neurologists, etc. – are entering the market.
E-prescribing software connects clinicians, patients, and pharmacists, thus enhancing healthcare services.
How e-prescribing software works
There are many e-prescription apps on the market, which are designed differently. The standard scheme of e-prescribing software operation can be described as follows.
The doctor views insurance details in the program and prescribes a medicine. The user gets an e-prescription from the doctor through the app. The program can also suggest alternatives.
Users can look through treatment guidelines:
- familiarize themselves with patient information and contraindications,
- view addresses of the nearest pharmacies,
- compare pharmacy prices,
- place orders.
When selling a medicine, a pharmacist scans the QR code on a user’s mobile device. Digital prescriptions are kept in a program. A doctor follows the treatment and renews the prescription remotely.
The challenges that e-prescribing software addresses
The main challenge that healthcare providers are trying to address by using e-prescribing software is to reduce the number of cases associated with medication errors. Due to this, about 9,000 people die yearly in the US alone. The most common mistakes include:
- prescriptions with illegible handwriting,
- incorrect prescriptions,
- the confusion of drug names and packaging,
- wrong dose prescription,
- adverse drug reactions,
- drug interactions.
During the pandemic, many people were self-medicating, so adverse drug reactions occurred more often due to the wrong doses.
Mistakes can occur when writing prescriptions, interpreting them, issuing medicines at pharmacies, or taking medicines.
The above mistakes are mainly associated with human lack of attention. Using e-prescribing software can change the situation. Writing e-prescriptions is an increasing trend; MarketsandMarkets predicts that the e-prescribing software market will grow from $1.2 billion in 2020 to $3.3 billion in 2025. According to Statista, 84% of all prescriptions can already be received in electronic form.
Features of e-prescription apps
Given the fact that an e-prescription app is used by healthcare workers, patients, and pharmacists, it should include features for each of these groups.
Features for patients:
– prescription monitoring: users log into the system and look through prescription details at any time,
– patient information leaflet: information on dosage, frequency, contraindications, and so on,
– reminders: users can set up a medication schedule,
– pre-orders: users can make a pre-order,
– delivery: the program may include a medicine delivery and tracking feature,
– online payments,
– user account: if e-prescribing software is not integrated with the EHR system, a user account feature should be implemented, where users can enter their insurance data and other personal information.
Features for healthcare workers:
– a database of available medicines: a feature for fast medicine search based on its name, class, or active ingredient,
– patient data: the program can be integrated with the EHR/EMR system, or a user can enter the necessary information about patients,
– adding, editing, and canceling prescriptions: the system allows clinicians to create, send to pharmacies, edit, and renew e-prescriptions,
– report generation.
Features for pharmacists:
– receiving prescriptions and saving them in a system: the possibility to view prescriptions, fill orders based on them, and save them in apps,
– reporting: pharmacists need to view statistics on new, completed, and pending orders to better manage sales,
– payment monitoring.
Like any other healthcare software, e-prescription apps must keep user data secure and comply with generally applicable and industry laws (GDPR and HIPAA). Local legislation should also be taken into consideration. For example, the US Drug Enforcement Administration requires the owners of e-prescribing software to use two-factor authentication for doctors’ authorization. Some institutions obligate people to confirm their right to receive medicine with a digital signature.
Should e-prescribing software be integrated with the EHR system?
E-prescribing software can be used both as an independent care delivery tool and as part of the EHR system.
An independent solution is a separate autonomous system. This type of medical software development can be cheaper as it doesn’t require integration with various systems and the implementation of EHR- and CRM-compatible technologies. However, the developers might have to manually transfer data from EHRs to the system, and access to users’ medical records will be limited.
Integration with other systems. Apps work better when more information is available to them. According to Fortune Business Insights, the latest medical technologies are mostly cloud-based and have efficient API integration.
Such a technology pairing enhances program efficiency. These programs include more useful features, and many tasks of healthcare workers and pharmacists are automated. In addition to system development costs, you’ll also need to pay for integration and support.
Benefits of e-prescription apps
E-prescribing software offers healthcare workers, patients, and pharmacists the following benefits:
- relieves clinicians from labor-consuming paperwork, transfers prescriptions to a digital format,
- enhances the efficiency of healthcare workers and pharmacists by reducing the time that doctors need for writing prescriptions and the time that pharmacists need for filling orders,
- reduces the number of medication errors – AI-powered systems in modern programs consider drug compatibility,
- ensures fast data exchange due to its integration with the EHR/EMR system – healthcare workers and pharmacists instantly get access to information about users and their insurance details,
- saves money – in the US, the costs associated with medication error prevention amount to $40 billion yearly. Using e-prescribing software eliminates these errors and cuts those costs.
E-prescribing software is a modern solution that healthcare organizations and their clients need. It minimizes the number of medication errors, improves the quality of care, and enhances healthcare workers’ efficiency.
How to develop an e-prescription app?
To make an e-prescription app a useful tool, you should think through the steps of custom healthcare software development.
Step 1. Conduct a survey and answer the following questions:
– Who will use the program?
– What problems will the program solve?
– What features will the e-prescribing software include?
– What platforms do users work with most? etc.
Market and audience research will help your company find out what the future software should be.
Step 2. Define features and formulate software requirements that the development team will use in its work.
Step 3. Choose technologies and a platform. The type of platform determines what technologies you choose. If you don’t have an in-house technical specialist, a healthcare software development company will help you find the best solution.
Step 4. When choosing a healthcare software development company, it is recommended to consider the following:
– the company’s experience in healthcare software development,
– technology stack (including cutting-edge technologies like AI, ML, cloud computing, and blockchain),
– portfolio availability,
– customer reviews,
– methodologies the teams use in their work,
– the cost of custom healthcare software development, and so on.
By taking these steps, you will provide a solid foundation for developing software that will address the industry issues and find a ready market.
Introducing e-prescribing software in the work of healthcare providers is one more step towards the digitalization of healthcare. People need better service, while healthcare workers and pharmacists want their work to be done faster. At the same time, nobody wants to neglect data security. It’s not easy to develop an e-prescription app, so businesses need a competent healthcare software development company that will help them implement their ideas.