Electronic prescribing and administration
The method for prescribing and administering medication in hospitals has largely stayed the same for the last 40 years with the use of paper prescription charts. However, the number and complexity of medicines have grown, which increases the potential risk to patients. The healthcare industry has been one of the slowest sectors to adopt information technology. However, electronic care notes have become more prevalent in hospitals and electronic prescribing and administration (e-prescribing) is beginning to gain acceptance in hospitals, having been available in GP surgeries for several years.
What is electronic prescribing?
E-prescribing is the use of electronic systems to enhance the production of a prescription and facilitate safe medication administration. Ideally, it should provide prescribers with decision support regarding the choice of drug and dosage, and notify any potential adverse drug interactions and contraindications.
Nurses should be provided with a clear and accurate electronic record of the prescription and be advised when to administer regular medication, with safeguards to ensure the recording of administration or reasons for omission.
Pharmacists should be able to access the electronic prescription records and provide clinical support. A robust audit trail for the entire medicines use process will be recorded and management and governance reports provided.
What are the benefits of electronic prescribing?
The most obvious advantage would result from the removal of handwriting problems, such as illegibility and incomplete details from prescriptions, which will improve safety.
Prescribers will be able to generate a prescription provided they have access to a computer or other electronic device; so remote prescribing will be possible from any location.
E-prescribing addresses most sources of medication error from prescribing to administration and provides the opportunity for transformational changes and improvements to patient care and safety.
In addition, future developments are envisaged which will also improve practice. For example, the e-prescribing system could be developed to provide recommended medication orders, which will help to manage medication stock control and reduce overstocks and wastage.
Ashtons electronic prescribing (e-Works)
We now developed our electronic prescribing and administration system, Ashtons e-Works. Further information can be found here: Ashtons e-Works electronic prescribing