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Better Communication through e-Prescribing

Posted on March 3, 2020 by Ian Lording

Communication is key for any team. This is especially true in health care, where siloed services and a fragmented system can make it difficult to provide efficient care. One solution is e-prescribing, which transmits information seamlessly between prescribers and pharmacists. Recently, I was fortunate to speak with pharmacist Peter Namis and family physician Dr. Mohamed Alarakhia about their experiences with PrescribeIT®, Canada’s national, not-for-profit e-prescribing service.

The PrescribeIT® platform includes secure, two-way messaging, allowing prescribers and pharmacists to communicate in real time. “It’s very secure, and a lot easier than trying to get a hold of a doctor by calling them or faxing them,” Namis says. That results in more timely care for patients, and less frustration for everyone. “[It’s] saving us lots of time and effort in trying to track down doctors and for doctors to try and track down us.” Those hours are put to good use, as decreased administrative burdens free up time to spend with patients.

Enhanced communication makes things easier for patients, too. Difficulties in renewing or replacing prescriptions can create barriers to care. “Twenty to thirty per cent of prescriptions across Canada and internationally are not filled by patients,” explains Dr. Alarakhia. “That’s a huge problem.” But when the alternative is taking time off work, lingering in waiting rooms or adding an extra bus ride to a long day, patients might choose to forgo that prescription or renewal.

In addition to these day-to-day efficiencies, better communication improves patient safety. Those unfilled prescriptions can lead to adverse health effects, and PrescribeIT’s dispense notifications allow prescribers to respond proactively if something goes awry. Dr. Alarakhia recalls seeing a prescription sitting unfilled; the patient was unable to get to her pharmacy. “I was able to immediately notify the pharmacy that this patient needed the medication. They were able to contact the patient and they actually delivered it to her home.”

Managing multiple medications is another important element of medication management. This is particularly true when prescribing opioids. PrescribeIT® enables controlled medications to be prescribed and dispensed with confidence. “We know with certainty where the prescription originated from…it is authenticated multiple times before it actually reaches our system,” Namis says.

This reduces stolen and fraudulent prescriptions, and allows pharmacists to focus on making sure patients get the medication they need. It also lets prescribers and patients have more informed discussions about pain management. “You can, with the patient, work together and monitor how often the patient is needing the medication,” says Alarakhia.

When the right information reaches the right people at the right time, patients get the right care. e-Prescribing makes that possible by putting prescribers, pharmacists and patients on the same page. 

Are you interested in making e-prescribing part of your health care journey? Get started today by filling out an application of interest for PrescribeIT®.

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ian lordingIan Lording is Senior Director, Relationship Management at Canada Health Infoway, responsible for the community pharmacy and prescriber adoption and execution of PrescribeIT® – Canada’s multi-jurisdiction electronic prescribing service. Ian has more than 20 years of industry experience in a variety of organizations encompassing procurement, supply chain, IT, pharmacy services and retail operations.

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