E-Dispensing

Med-e-Mass, through its Health-Soft e-Scripting solution, has now completed the electronic prescription cycle, with the introduction of electronic delivery and import of prescriptions in pharmacies.

Electronic prescribing is defined as computer-based electronic generation, transmission and dispensing of medical prescriptions. Any proper e-prescribing solution therefore not only ensures that a prescription is generated electronically, but also that it is transmitted electronically to the patient’s pharmacy of choice.

Full integration between the prescriber’s Practice Management Application, or PMA, and the pharmacy’s software application is essential to ensure a smooth flow of data needed to complete the prescription accurately in the pharmacy. Electronic prescribing therefore, has the ability to replace the hand written prescription completely and will bring to an end the outdated practice of faxing prescriptions to a pharmacy.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (HHS ONC), in 2014 96% of U.S. community pharmacies and 70% of U.S. physicians used Surescripts' e-prescription network. It processed more than 1 billion e-prescriptions in 2013, up from 68 million in 2008.

This was not possible in the South-African healthcare market, until now, and it is foreseen that medical practitioners and pharmacists alike will progressively embrace this concept of electronic prescribing.

Who is Med-e-Mass?

Med-e-Mass is South Africa’s leading provider of clinical, scripting and financial management solutions to more than 10 000 satisfied clients in the healthcare market.

Our strong focus on innovation, research and development ensures that we provide leading technology solutions to facilitate compliance with all regulations and best practice methodologies, which ultimately ensures improved quality of patient care.

Users of our platforms include pharmacies, medical practitioners and specialists, medical reception and administrative staff, as well as nursing and care workers.

How does it all works?

With Health-Soft e-Scripting the practitioner has the option to either print the prescription, or to send the prescription electronically to a participating pharmacy.

When the practitioner decides to print the prescription, either signed electronically or by hand, it is handed to the patient to take to their pharmacy of choice.

The pharmacy then has the option to capture this prescription by hand, as before, or, for participating pharmacies, to retrieve the prescription electronically from ScriptCloud™ directly into their pharmacy software system.

When transmitting an electronic prescription to a participating pharmacy, the practitioner must first obtain the patient’s consent. This consent is then recorded with a date and time stamp. The prescription is then available in the ScriptCollect™ application at the specified pharmacy within seconds.

Signing

Transmitted prescriptions must be signed electronically and will be the only original prescription available. Any other copy or duplicate of the same prescription will be clearly marked as “Not-Original” and will be identifiable by pharmacies as an invalid prescription copy.

There is no need for pharmacies to obtain another ‘original’ as stated in regulation 28 of the Medicines and Related Substances Act 101 of 1965.

The electronic signature, which is unique to Health-Soft e-Scripting, has several build-in security features and requires the practitioner to enter a confidential pin number in order to sign the script. This ‘positive act of acceptance’ ensures that the Health-Soft e-Signature further complies with Regulation 28, which states that a prescription must be signed in person.

These measures ensure peace of mind for the dispenser in that it could only be the prescriber that has signed the script, as identified on the prescription. Unfortunately, with current hand written scripts, pharmacists have no real measure, unless they know the prescriber well, to tell that it is in fact the prescriber’s signature that appears on the script

Advantages to Pharmacy

Electronic prescribing brings with it a number of advantages. These include:

  • Improved accuracy - Prescription interpretation errors at pharmacies are reduced significantly and dispensers seldom need to contact the prescriber to clarify a prescription.
  • Patient safety - Electronic prescribing is an important element in improving the quality of patient care and has been proven to decrease adverse drug reactions and at the same time increase patient compliance to medication treatment.
  • Improved efficiencies - Pharmacies are now able to reduce the waiting time for patients and to optimise pharmacy workflow, thereby assisting in the review of staff models and the efficient use of scarce human resources.
  • Retaining your patients - When the medical practitioner electronically sends a prescription, with the patient’s consent, to a specific pharmacy, the patient would only be able to collect this prescription from this pharmacy.
  • Reduction in prescription fraud - Contrary to normal hand written prescriptions, the e-script has an audit trail. Using the barcode which is printed on the prescription, it is possible to trace the script back to the dispenser and to confirm validity. All prescriptions have a date and time stamp, printed and visible to the dispenser, separate from the normal prescription date. Further to this, the electronic signature process, with its build-in safety measures, ensures that only the HPCSA validated prescriber is able to sign.