Internet Health Care

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Electronic medical care is already a reality, as shown by the many websites that offer to fill prescriptions and to provide medical information. Integrated web and personal digital assistant (PDA) products have streamlined writing prescriptions where they are in use. These devices and systems are the harbingers of future technology that will enable uniformity and standardization in medication prescribing and dispensing.

Features of Electronic Systems

Current systems offer wireless solutions for mobile clinicians in the form of personal digital assistants (PDAs). There is no need for a busy physician to leave the patient in order to check formularies on a network computer in another room. PDAs permit instant access to an array of information about drugs and about the patient.

Another feature is a comprehensive drug database that includes over-the-counter (OTC) medications and supplies. A complete online drug reference is readily available for consultation by physicians. Formularies are stored electronically so physicians can look up drugs that are used in common with other physicians in the group or health plan.

Electronic systems have a custom SIG creator that creates databases for frequently prescribed drugs. Physicians can review and print drug literature rather than having to rely on printed material that arrives from pharmaceutical companies or other commercial sources. These systems also have interfaces with popular management and billing systems.

Better Patient Care

The bottom line of all these features is better patient care, and specifically, improved prescription writing. ePrescribing operating systems enable more informed medication treatment by physicians because so much information can be instantly called up on a small, hand-held device. Busy physicians can literally carry their medical library and patient histories around with them for use as necessary.

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