Print Scripts

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Even though illegible handwriting has been shown to be responsible for a large number of medication errors, fewer than five percent of doctors in this country use electronic prescription systems. These systems are available, and are in use by progressive healthcare institutions around the nation. The expectation among health organizations--and the federal government--is that the next few years must see technology make needed improvements in healthcare delivery, as it has in other fields.

Electronic Options for Doctors

Many people shun the unfamiliar, and doctors are no exception. Learning new ways of handling prescriptions, or new operational systems for the office, is viewed as time-consuming. Initially, of course, mastering any strange system takes time, but when the rewards are as dramatic as those resulting from ePrescribing, time is hardly the most important consideration. When patient welfare is uppermost, electronic prescribing becomes a critical improvement in medical treatment.

Electronic systems offer a doctor a lot of flexibility in the production of an accurate and appropriate prescription. Rather than taking the time to write out the name of a medicine, the symbols indicating proper dosage, the frequency of administration, and the quantity, a doctor using ePrescribing can complete this process in five seconds. Not only will this prescription be clearly printed, but it can either be printed in the office or transmitted directly to the pharmacy.

If a doctor chooses to print the script in the office, there are options as to interfaces and devices that will work well. These choices will depend on the doctor's preferences and the particular system that has been installed. Alternatives include internet-ready PCs, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and tablets of various kinds.

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