It seems paper prescriptions are going the way of the casette tape and the rotary phone. This past year saw physicians convert to electronic prescriptions at a more rapid rate than any previous year. InformationWeek reports that 58% of office-based physicians were making use of e-prescriptions in 2011, a drastic increase from only 36% the year before.
In the article, InformationWeek quotes Dr. Michael Fischer, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, as saying, “We can see prescriptions … that were sent to the pharmacy and never picked up, where before, paper prescriptions [could not be tracked] in any practical way. We actually know the scope of the problem in a way that was not possible before.”
Beyond the obvious positive ramifications for patient care, the switch to automated prescriptions is expected to rake in approximately $240 billion in healthcare savings over the next decade. Combined with the level of visibility doctors are able to achieve when it comes to their patients’ prescriptions and medical information, e-prescriptions are easily expected to dominate the healthcare industry sooner rather than later.
Overall, the industry seems to be adapting quickly to the wide variety of automated solutions that are being developed for its specific needs. In recent years, there has been an upward trend in automating areas such as inventory management, asset management and e-procurement in particular. Due to budget concerns and patient care expectations, healthcare facilities are typically quicker to recognize the value in replacing paper-based processes with automation software, especially now with SaaS options available as such an inexpensive alternative.