Online Drug Reference

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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The ultimate purpose for ePrescribing is to protect patient safety by preventing errors in the prescribing process. Simply by replacing handwritten prescriptions with electronic prescriptions, ePrescribing goes a long way toward avoiding potentially lethal mistakes. Another aspect of prescribing medication revolves around access to complete and accurate information about available drugs and about patient medical records.

Instant Online Drug Reference

With a small, hand-held personal digital assistant (PDA), a physician can access a world of clinical decision support in the form of a Drug Utilization Review (DUR) during script writing. This program alone will provide important information about drug and food interactions that are essential to be aware of to prevent adverse reactions. Drug formularies inform a physician as to acceptable medications used in a particular health institution or health plan.

Drug formularies can be patient-specific, which further reduces the chances of error. PDAs can call up drug literature, which can be printed for further reading and use in prescribing appropriate medication for a particular patient. All these resources constitute an invaluable--and instantly accessible--library of drug information for a busy physician.

In addition to these reference resources, any stored information regarding the patient can also be called up on a PDA, whose portability makes it an ideal companion for a mobile physician throughout the day. The patient's medical history--hospitalizations, surgeries, and allergies--is readily available on the PDA, as are records of vaccinations, physical examinations, and chronic conditions. All in all, prescribing can be accomplished with far more confidence with electronic systems that provide invaluable support.

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