Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ontario tests paperless prescription system in two communities

From the Canadian Press:
Barely legible handwritten prescriptions could become a pharmacists' headache of the past in Ontario as the provincial government on Tuesday introduced its first phase of a paperless prescription process.

The system, called ePrescribing, lets doctors forgo handwritten prescriptions, instead sending instructions to pharmacists electronically through a private computer network.

Doctors say patient safety will be enhanced because the prescriptions will be legible and clear.

"Messy handwriting, it's a huge concern," said Dr. Lewis O'Brien, a family physician in Sault Ste. Marie, one of two communities testing the electronic prescription system.

"It's a natural occurrence of people that are too busy and trying to do too much."

Instead of filling out a prescription on a notepad, a specially designed program allows O'Brien to complete a prescription in the patient's medical chart that also contains the patient's medical history. A safety mechanism warns physicians if they prescribe unsafe drug combinations or inadvertently try to prescribe medication that a patient is allergic to. ...more

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