Opinion: How e-prescribing alleviates the burden for pharmacists …

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My tasks as a group pharmacist in Lethbridge have at all times been diverse, however maybe by no means as acutely as over the past two years. Every day duties have expanded to incorporate administering vaccinations, assessments and different associated COVID-19 screening and tending to an inflow of affected person inquiries amidst a scarcity of physicians and nurses in Lethbridge, whereas persevering with to offer medicine administration for high-risk populations and meting out prescriptions in a well timed and protected method. Evidently, the COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated pharmacists to tackle extra affected person care than ever earlier than.

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It has by no means been extra vital to make sure pharmacists are geared up with instruments to satisfy affected person wants swiftly, safely and successfully. In February 2018, Albertans had been properly on their strategy to facilitating higher well being outcomes with the launch of a pilot program for PrescribeIT, Canada’s nationwide e-prescribing service, in Lethbridge. The service is increasing and will probably be obtainable to all physicians and pharmacists throughout the province of Alberta. Having had the chance to expertise the advantages of e-prescribing in our pharmacy over the past 4 years, I do know it’s right here to remain.

Numerous industries have embraced digital change in a means that we’ve got come to count on and depend upon. The place I as soon as hung out commuting to a financial institution to deposit a cheque, I can now deposit it safely and rapidly utilizing a smartphone. If I’m reserving journey, I can accomplish that from the consolation of my house. Likewise, e-prescribing has grow to be a necessary a part of my digital well being toolbox, streamlining the prescription course of and in flip, bettering the standard of take care of my sufferers. It allows our group to obtain prescriptions instantly into our pharmacy administration system and to electronically request prescription renewals from a doctor, permitting extra time for affected person care. Amidst all of our different each day tasks, we are able to now common a formidable variety of prescriptions per day at our pharmacy with the arrogance that they’re being safely disbursed to our sufferers.

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There are numerous dangers related to paper prescriptions which are mitigated with e-prescribing, akin to misplaced or stolen prescriptions. This may be significantly impactful for marginalized populations akin to these experiencing homelessness who should safeguard their paper prescriptions till they will attain a pharmacy, which typically means the prescriptions arrive torn, illegible or under no circumstances. PrescribeIT can provide all sufferers, significantly these in susceptible populations, the peace of thoughts that they’ll be capable of choose up their prescription as supposed, while not having to carry onto a bodily piece of paper.

The environmental influence of eliminating paper prescriptions additionally can’t be neglected. In 2019, digital care decreased CO2 emissions by 120,000 metric tonnes (Canada Well being Infoway), with e-prescribing taking part in a vital position.

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We equally service over 1,000 rural farming communities at our pharmacy. Some sufferers should journey an extended strategy to choose up their prescriptions, incurring important prices associated to journey and reserving day without work work. With digital care and digital well being options like e-prescribing, sufferers residing in rural communities can reduce time spent travelling to non-essential, in-person, medical appointments and pharmacies. As an alternative, they are often assured that their prescriptions have safely and electronically been delivered to their pharmacy of selection.

From a affected person perspective, e-Prescribing is extraordinarily handy when in-person visits with health-care professionals should not doable or really useful, a characteristic made all of the extra important given the pandemic. By lowering the necessity for in-person visits, susceptible populations can restrict their time exterior or in ready rooms, thereby lowering their threat of an infection. It has equally confirmed to be a necessary device to enhance and streamline communication inside a affected person’s circle of care in the course of the pandemic. With the unreliability of faxed and handwritten paper prescriptions reduce out of the equation, the danger of illegible, solid and misplaced prescriptions is minimized, lowering the necessity for backwards and forwards between physicians and pharmacists, and permitting for a safer and extra streamlined course of.

I’ve been glad to see our health-care system undertake digital care and digital well being options amidst COVID-19, however need prescribers, pharmacists and Canadian sufferers to know that these instruments will proceed so as to add nice worth to our lives lengthy after the pandemic is over. E-Prescribing is not vital to my work, however important as a result of I do know it’s going to give me extra time for what issues most: delivering the highest quality of care to my sufferers, how and after they want it most.

Andrew Kwong is a group pharmacist in Lethbridge with an curiosity in journey medication.

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