Exploring the Potential of E-Prescribing Software Development for Healthcare Organizations

Key Takeaways

  • The e-prescribing market is estimated to reach $4,152.7 million by 2026, surging at a CAGR of 21.4 percent during the 2019 to 2026 timeframe. E-prescribing software ensures fewer medication errors, improved patient safety, and a lesser risk of misplaced prescriptions.
  • E-prescribing software can play a vital role in reducing adverse drug impact. It is equipped with a drug alert system that warns physicians if they’ve prescribed a drug that may be harmful to the patient.
  • At times, the elderly population or bedridden patients are unable to travel to get their medication refilled. They can refill their medication stock and get it delivered to their doorstep with the help of e-prescribing software.
  • E-prescription software provides pharmacists and healthcare providers access to patient data. They can gain valuable insight about the patient which helps them to confirm medication, diagnoses, and dosages, and prevent errors if any.
  • On average, the cost of custom e-prescribing software development is around $20,000 to $700,000 or more. The pricing varies as per the resources and time taken to build the software.

With e-prescribing software development and implementation across healthcare organizations, the USA can save tons of money spent on medication errors which accounts for $40 billion annually. E-prescribing software is easy-to-use and can assist to find any type of medical information. It comes with multiple useful features that are targeted toward drug prescribing and can be used from any device.

Hospitals and clinics can opt for customized e-prescribing software development that includes features for specific healthcare practices such as dental, urology, pediatric, etc.

Let’s look at e-prescribing software (eRx) in detail.

E-prescribing Software: Market Trends

The e-prescribing market is estimated to reach $4,152.7 million by 2026, surging at a CAGR of 21.4 percent during the 2019 to 2026 timeframe. The rise in the e-prescribing market is due to its range of benefits such as fewer medication errors, improved patient safety, and lesser risk of misplaced prescriptions. Additionally, a need to reduce abuse of controlled substances among healthcare organizations is also affecting the market growth.

Further, e-prescribing is connected to an increase in first-fill medication adherence that could save billions for healthcare facilities. This encourages stakeholders to develop and integrate e-prescribing software across all systems such as EHR (Electronic Health Records), telemedicine, remote patient monitoring, etc.

Benefits of Implementing E-prescribing Software in Healthcare

1. Improved Workflow Efficiency

With e-prescribing software, physicians can cut out writing prescriptions and send them directly to the referred pharmacy by the patient. So, by the time the patient reaches the pharmacy, the medicines are already packed and ready for the patient to take away. This saves ample time for patients.

Additionally, the paperless method of prescribing drugs reduces the chances of medication errors, which is a common issue caused due to illegible handwriting of physicians.

Usually, pharmacists face hurdles in interpreting handwriting, so they call back to physicians multiple times for drug clarification. This takes up a lot of time for both pharmacists and physicians and leaves behind a streak of frustrated patients who are waiting for their medications. Thereby hampering the entire workflow of pharmacies and clinics. However, with e-prescription software development and implementation, time can be saved, which improves workflow efficiency.

2. High Safety Standards

The core aim of healthcare is to ensure patient safety and it can be done in two ways: to build a HIPAA-compliant healthcare software and to provide world-class treatment. Vendors take it upon themselves to deliver compliant e-prescribing software that meets industry standards.

HIPAA software ensures the security and privacy of ePHI (Protected Health Information), which otherwise breached can lead to serious reputation damage of patients, fraud, and financial losses. Apart from this, e-prescription software ascertains high safety standards by eliminating the following issues:

3. Medication Errors

Around 6,800 medications and infinite over-the-counter drugs are available in the USA. Additionally, there are countless herbs, health supplements, lotions, and potions available in the market. This makes the job of a healthcare provider and pharmacist to treat patients difficult as patients may end up using unprescribed medicine, and those medicines may or may not worsen their health. Every year around 7000 to 9000 people die due to medication errors.

The reason for medication errors can be due to handing out over-the-counter drugs and illegible handwriting of doctors (if physicians are using paper prescriptions). To tackle this issue, healthcare facilities are opting for e-prescribing software development as it eliminates the need to write prescriptions, instead, medications are directly fed to the server and sent to the patient’s recommended pharmacy. The pharmacist checks the patient’s medical history and confirms drugs before handing them out to patients.

4. Adverse Drug Effects

People at a higher risk of experiencing adverse drug effects are the elderly population as they intake multiple medications. Some of the adverse drug effects include allergies, stomach ulcers, pus, etc. E-prescribing software can play a vital role in reducing adverse drug impact. Physicians and pharmacists can easily view previous medication and medical history to understand patient conditions. This allows them to prevent harmful drug-drug interactions. Also, e-prescribing software is equipped with a drug alert system that warns physicians if they’ve prescribed a drug that may be harmful to the patient.

5. Positive Patient Outcomes

One of the ways e-prescribing software is improving patient outcomes is by reducing medication errors, which is discussed in the above point. Reduction in medication errors eventually minimizes the chances of patients falling sick all over again. Also, with e-prescribing software physicians can prevent adverse drug interactions. These aspects help to improve patient outcomes by ten folds.

Apart from this, the elderly population or bedridden patients find it difficult to travel to get their medication refilled. Now, they have the liberty to refill their medication stock and get it delivered to their doorstep with the help of electronic prescription software. This saves them not only time but ensures that they don’t catch other infections in their vulnerable state and slow down their recovery process.

Core Features of E-prescribing Software

For Pharmacists

1. Access to Patient Data

E-prescription software provides pharmacists access to patient data which includes details such as medication history, treatment, diagnosis, tests, etc. They can gain valuable insight about the patient which helps them to confirm medication and dosages, and prevent likely errors if any.

2. Managing Drug Refills

Refill requests by patients are accepted by pharmacies and they are also sent to physicians for approval. Once approved, medications are refilled. Pharmacists can maintain their log of refills provided every month, and restore the most required medication as per needs.

3. Drug Delivery and Orders

Often bedridden patients or the geriatric population prefer to place medication orders at their nearest pharmacies. The required drug is delivered to the patient’s doorstep. This feature allows pharmacies to manage drug orders online and on-time delivery. They receive a notification for every order that is placed. Pharmacists can also keep track of whether the concerned drug is safely delivered to the location or not through the e-prescribing software.

4. Handling Medication Database

Every pharmacy needs to maintain a medication database and manage its inventory. This feature helps pharmacists to enter all details related to drugs such as medication supply, deliveries, refills, patients registered at the pharmacy, and frequently needed medicine by patients.

5. Payment

E-prescription software is built with a payment feature and with an online transaction option. It is a secured payment method and is protected with multiple firewalls, thus preventing financial losses for both pharmacies and patients. Further, the online payment option is a great way to keep payment records, instead of relying on the pen-and-paper method.

For Healthcare Providers

1. Patient Medical and Medication History

In a single day, healthcare providers diagnose numerous patients and they can’t keep track of each individual’s medical history. So, in these cases, a portal or healthcare software with all information helps to review medication history and proceed with further treatment, including medications.

2. Generation and Submission of E-prescriptions

After patient diagnosis, physicians enter recommended medicine into the software server, which generates e-prescriptions. It is directly sent to the pharmacy, from where patients can collect their medicines.

3. E-prescription and Medication Tracking

After the submission of an e-prescription to the patient’s pharmacy, physicians can track it to ensure that their patients have received their medicines. They can also monitor whether patients are taking medicine on time. Medication tracking also allows them to note if there are any adverse effects such as allergies. After feeding medications into the server, the e-prescription software generates an alarm if any adverse effects are spotted So, physicians can immediately take countermeasures to prevent it.

4. Refill Requests

With the help of e-prescription software, patients can easily place refill requests at their nearby pharmacy. Physicians are tasked with the responsibility of approving these requests, post which pharmacies deliver drugs. This feature prevents patients from visiting their doctor for medicine refills, thus saving valuable time and energy for both doctors and patients. The work is done in merely few seconds through the software.

For Patients

1. Access to their Data

E-prescription software allows patients to access their medical data. As per HIPAA rules, they are authorized to permit who to share data with. If data is shared without their permission, then the entity who has shared data faces charges for violating HIPAA rules.

2. Notifications

This feature is built to alert patients about medication intake, refills, pending payments to pharmacies and doctors, and medication orders and delivery. This is an automated feature and can be customized. Notifications are a useful tool, especially for the elderly population and those who are suffering from memory loss or who have a busy schedule. Such kind of people often forget to take medicine or sometimes take double dosages thinking that they haven’t taken their medicines. In such cases, timely alerts ensures that they take medications on time.

3. Payment Gateway System

Patients can enter their debit or credit card details and save them for easy financial transactions. Payment systems are secured with multiple firewalls and password protected to prevent losses and cyber attacks.

4. Medicine Information

This feature includes vital information such as medication composition, adverse effects, price, dosage, deputy drugs, etc. Patients can check this whenever a new medicine is added or to review composition in case they’re facing side effects.

5. Ordering Medicines

This feature allows patients to place drug orders at their nearest pharmacy without having to visit the store. They can pay online and have medication delivered to their doorstep. The feature also allows patients to keep track of their orders in real time.

E-prescribing Software Development Process

1. Partner with a Healthcare Software Development Company

A healthcare software development company is loaded with expert developers who have a fair knowledge of how to construct compliant e-prescribing software. They are aware of the HIPAA and other healthcare regulations and have the resources to ensure complete security and privacy of the e-prescribing software.

So, partnering with a healthcare development company reassures healthcare organizations that they are in safe hands. It also relieves them of any doubts regarding the security of ePHI as the software is HIPAA compliant.

2. Research and Planning

Research and planning before e-prescribing software development include several aspects:

  • MVP: Minimal Viable Product is an initial version of the product that contains limited features and functionalities. It tells a lot about the software and is ideal for gaining feedback from users.
  • Target Audience: Understand who the software is for. Patients, doctors, and pharmacists. Once this is clear in the head, list out their problems and needs, and build features according to it.
  • Market Trends: Stay updated with what’s happening in the market. This includes factors such as the compound growth rate of e-prescribing software and understanding which segment is demanding e-prescription software the most: hospitals, private clinics, or health tech enterprises.

3. Design Phase

The design phase of the e-prescription software development includes the implementation of features and functionalities, font, colors, navigation system, menu, graphics or images, wireframing, and design architecture. Each of these aspects implants the final look and feel of the software. Features of e-prescribing software encompass payment gateway, prescription refills, medication tracking, patient records, drug order and delivery, and many more which are listed in detail above.

Furthermore, fonts, colors, and images preferred for healthcare software are on the lighter side and have cooler color shades (like blue or green) as it represents serenity and eliminates distractions produced by bright colors. Note that the user interface is where doctors and patients will interact with e-prescribing software, so their experience must be seamless and easy.

4. Bring in Technology Stack

The technology stack is the building block of any software development. The technology stack aims to increase the productivity, efficiency, security, and performance of the software being built. The right tools and combinations, along with talent are necessary to develop the e-prescription software.

Some of the best technology stack are:

  • LAMP STACK: Linux, MySQL, Apache, Php
  • Mean Stack: Express.js, MongoDB, Node.js, AngularJS
  • Ruby on Rails: Passenger, Ruby, Rails, Rack

5. Testing, Launch, and Maintenance

Test the quality of e-prescribing software. It helps to eliminate possible bugs, errors, and unwanted functionalities, and add additional features if necessary. One final quality assurance check makes the product ready for delivery and launch. Once the software is launched, vendors must monitor it.

The software has to be constantly updated to prevent bugs and to add new features which users demand as per changing market trends. Software maintenance and upgradation are two vital steps post its launch.

Cost of E-prescribing Software Development

The cost of e-prescribing software development depends on whether a client is opting for a custom or template design. Customized e-prescribing software can prove to be useful as features and functionalities can be installed as per the taste, preferences, and needs of physicians, patients, and pharmacists.

On average, the cost of custom e-prescribing software development is around $20,000 to $700,000 or more. The pricing varies as per the type of development team (outsourced, in-house, or freelance) and the region the team belongs to (offshore or nearshore). Furthermore, the time taken to develop e-prescription software also impacts cost; more time signifies more cost.

Challenges of Installing E-prescribing Software

Some of the notable challenges faced by developers while implementing e-prescribing software are:

  • Poor awareness about how to use the software
  • Security issues such as no protection from fraud or data breaches, and not complying with HIPAA regulations.
  • Improper IT infrastructure management by healthcare organizations
  • Undertested or untested e-prescribing software is prone to produce errors, incorrect prescriptions, and paves the way for ransomware attacks.
  • Cumbersome software interfaces makes it difficult for pharmacy or medical staff to use the software.

To know more about e-prescribing software development or to get a customized healthcare software, get in touch with Arkenea. With over 12 years of experience in the healthcare software development sector, our team of experts is trained to deliver a world-class product that matches your organization’s requirements.