A Detailed Outlook on the E-Prescription Software Development

Key Takeaways

  • A need to control substance usage and reduce medication errors is driving the e-prescribing market growth during the 2023-2030 timeframe.
  • Key audiences to note during the e-prescription software development are the elderly, chronic disease, and bedridden patients. Online medication orders, refills, and reminders help such patients to keep a track of their health care.
  • The cost of custom e-prescription software development is around $20,000 to $700,000 or more. The cost depends on the team, features, functionalities, and the time required to wrap up the development process.

E-prescribing is another addition to the growing technological advancement in the healthcare sector. A need for seamless prescription refills is accelerating e-prescription software development.

With e-prescription software, all prescriptions are securely transmitted over servers, thus maintaining the confidentiality of patient data. The goal of e-prescription software development is to curb increasing medication errors and to unify the workflow of doctors and pharmacists.

This article covers the process of e-prescription software development, its benefits, challenges faced, and crucial features.

Analysis of the E-Prescription Software Market

According to a report, the US e-prescribing market is estimated to surge at a CAGR of 24.8 percent during the 2023-2030 timeframe. A need to control substance usage amongst people is expected to boost the e-prescribing market growth.

Additionally, favorable e-prescribing standards and rules published by the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) are increasing the adoption of e-prescribing amongst hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, healthcare organizations were forced to change their care methods, and switch to remote patient monitoring and e-prescribing. This was done to curb the rising infection rate in the country, which eventually increased the e-prescription market growth.

Often it’s hard for pharmacists to deduce handwriting, and they can give incorrect medication to patients. This can result in fatalities and hospitalization of patients. With electronic prescriptions there’s zero chance of spelling or illegible handwriting, thus resulting in a decrease in medication errors. Thereby, ensuring better patient health and outcome. These aspects are bolstering the e-prescription market growth.

Benefits of E-Prescription Software Development

1. Robust Security

E-prescription contains data on patient medication, from which plausible ailments can be deduced. Since it includes patients’ data or ePHI (Protected Health Information), it’s essential to encompass HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) rules during the e-prescription software development process.

HIPAA regulations safeguard ePHI on physical, technical, and administrative levels. Prescriptions transmitted over the server to pharmacists are end-to-end encrypted to protect the health details of patients. Thus, ensuring the confidentiality and security of data.

The CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) has posted the latest standards for e-prescribing which are as follows:

  • In 2020, the CMS published the 2021 PFS (Physician Fee Schedule) final rule which requires prescribers to use the NCPDP SCRIPT standard version 2017071 for EPCS (Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Drugs) transactions. NCPDP SCRIPT is the e-prescribing standard created to facilitate data transfer between prescribers, pharmacies, payers, physicians, and intermediaries.
  •   In 2021, the CMS published rules to implement an RTBT (Real-Time Benefit Tool) by January 2023.
  • Another standard published by CMS is the delayed compliance deadline for EPCS to no longer than January 2023 and no earlier than January 2025 for LTC prescriptions for controlled substances.

2. Minimal Medication Errors

A report states that the key reason for medication error is a distraction. Around 75 percent of medication errors have occurred due to distraction.

Physicians and hospital staff are surrounded by multiple responsibilities such as attending to patients, examining lab results, reassuring families, rounding on patients, and more. Amid all these duties, physicians write prescriptions quickly, which can give rise to medication errors.

Additionally, illegible writings also lead to errors, but e-prescription is digitally transmitted, hence it prevents medication errors. Furthermore, the use of abbreviations or suffixes can mislead pharmacists and they can end up giving the wrong drug to patients. So, consider using full forms in e-prescriptions.

3. Prescription Tracking and Refills

E-prescription software allows patients to keep a track of their prescriptions and ensure timely refills. Reminders are sent to patients when they’re running low on their medication supply. This helps them to refill their stack and not miss out on dosages.

For people suffering from chronic diseases and for the geriatric population, it’s important to keep a track of their medications. Failure to do so can lead to adverse health conditions. For example, diabetes patients must take timely insulin dosage, and e-prescription refill alerts help to keep enough stock of insulin.

4. Instant Health Status Report

Both patients and healthcare providers can get access to complete medical records. Enabling quick access to health status allows physicians to understand past medical history, allergies, surgeries, or any other ailments.

Having complete knowledge of history helps physicians to avoid medication that can trigger any allergies or other medical conditions. Further, digital health records prevent the need to manually enter data and eliminate tedious paperwork. This eventually reduces costs of documentation and duplication of tests (in case medical papers are misplaced).

5. Unified Working System

The key aim for e-prescription software development and its implementation in hospitals is to decrease the number of preventable adverse health and drug conditions in the USA. E-prescription is designed to bring patients, healthcare providers, and pharmacists under one roof, to avoid drug mishaps.

All three of them are in perfect sync, thus ensuring a unified working system. In this system, a provider fills out an online prescription and transfers it to the nearby pharmacy of a patient.

The pharmacist receives the e-prescription and places an order. The patient collects the drugs from his/her nearby pharmacy store after the appointment.

Vital Features of E-Prescription Software

For Patients

1. Reminders

Reminders are essential feature of digital therapeutics. This feature alerts patients about their daily doses and also prevents medication mix-ups by indicating which pill to take and at what time. The medication reminder feature is easy to set up, one simply has to fill in the details of the prescription and it’s done. It acts just like an alarm clock.

Reminders are a useful tool for senior citizens and those who have to intake multiple pills in a day. With age, the elderly can forget their daily dosage, hence a gentle reminder allows them to consume their medicine on time. It is easy for caregivers to keep track of medication via reminders, thus ensuring that their patients take their pills daily.

2. Medication History and its Data

Medication data contains vital information such as dosage, side effects, medicine period, price, and deputy drugs. This information keeps patients up-to-date on what kind of pills they’re consuming and changes them if facing any adverse effects.

Medication history data prevents severe medicine errors during admissions. Additionally, with medication data, physicians can view 12 months of a patient’s prescription history to improve adherence and support new drug therapies. Previous data helps to prevent adverse drug events and save time during reconciliation.

3. Online Medication Order

The perks of buying medication online are that patients can choose their brands and check for medicine availability. Placing online orders is convenient for patients who aren’t allowed to travel or are unable to step out of their houses. They can easily contact nearby pharmacies and get their medicine home delivered.

Online orders can save money as users can compare the costs of various brands and buy what’s within their budget. Patients can even talk or chat with a pharmacist online who can help them to buy the correct medicine.

4. Payment Management

Building a secured payment management feature during e-prescription software development is crucial. A safe payment gateway assures patients that their bank details, card data, and transactions are kept confidential.

Failure to create a safe payment management system can lead to data breaches, fraud, and illegal money transfers. It also hampers the trust that users put in software. The payment management feature generates invoices, provides transaction history and notifies of debits.

5. Medical Records

E-prescription software development includes medical records, so patients can check their current and past health status. They can get access to previous lab results and diagnoses, which allows them to work on their wellness.

Medical records are protected under HIPAA guidelines and are shared only with patients’ authorization. Additionally, medical records are kept confidential under HIPAA regulations. Failure to do so results in legal charges and penalties, which can harm the organizations’ reputation.

For Healthcare Providers

1. Medical Records

Just like patients, even healthcare providers can access medical records from their servers. This gives them an idea of past surgeries, medication, allergies, disabilities, and any other health issues. Access to records helps physicians to deduce current health conditions, and suggest treatment accordingly.

Moreover, healthcare providers can make use of predictive analysis with the help of AI or ML and scrutinize future medical conditions as well. Thus, preventing any major diseases in the long run.

2. E-prescribing

E-prescribing allows physicians to verify whether patients have filled their prescriptions or not. They also counsel patients on medication management. Healthcare providers can edit and cancel prescriptions via the e-prescribing feature.

Once the prescription is assigned, then providers send it directly to the pharmacies, so patients can collect their medicines later. Digital prescriptions help to avoid medication errors, documentation, and loss of prescriptions. Further, e-prescribing prevents misuse of drugs and prevents over-the-counter drug access.

3. Medication Data

Access to medication data allows physicians to keep track of the varied types of pills or syrups recommended to patients. Which in turn helps to plan future treatment plans and diagnoses.

Additionally, medication data can be forwarded to pharmacists and patients for them to view and gain insights into their medicines (type of drug, price, ailment, etc.). Data also points out the completed medication courses and determines whether new ones are to be added or not.

For Pharmacists

1. Orders

Pharmacists receive e-prescriptions written by doctors under this feature. Then they prepare medicines for patients to pick up from them. Online medication orders placed by patients are also received under this feature.

According to a new rule, pharmacists in the USA are eligible to prescribe ritonavir/nirmatrelvir to patients. Many states have allowed pharmacists to prescribe dosages for minor and major ailments. So, now pharmacists can guide patients while they place their orders online or offline.

2. Payment Management

This feature allows pharmacists to better manage their payment systems. For online medication orders, digital invoices can be sent automatically to the patient. Patients can easily make their transactions through secured payment options such as debit/credit cards, bank transfers, etc.

Digital payment solutions have picked up pace since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, hence including this aspect for payment management can boost sales significantly.

3. Inventory

Pharmacists can manage their inventories efficiently with this feature. They can effectively improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, minimize overstocking of medicines, and reduce opportunity losses.

Better inventory management helps pharmacists to understand current market trends and deduce the demand in coming times. Critical analysis of sales can help in forecasting trends in the forthcoming years.

Stages of E-Prescription Software Development

1. Partner with a Healthcare Software Development Company

A healthcare software development company is aware of all the rules and regulations followed in the healthcare sector. Hence, it’s easier for them to develop software that is suitable for your needs.

The rules of the healthcare sector are constantly updated and changed as per technological advancements and needs. A healthcare software development company keeps itself updated on all major and minor changes. This makes e-prescription software development easy and quick.

Healthcare organizations can consider outsourcing a development company to save costs and get a team of experts on onboard. Outsourcing e-prescription software development projects can ensure on-time and quality product delivery.

2. Planning

Planning is the most meticulous part of e-prescription software development, as it allows everyone on the team to get a clear picture of what’s expected. Clarity on the timeline assures better organization and all teammates are in sync with each other.

Planning of e-prescription software development includes:

  • Timeline of all tasks
  • Budget
  • Team selection
  • Deadlines
  • List of requirements for software development
  • Documentation

3. Design and Coding

The next step of e-prescription software development is the design and coding phase. Here, the entire project plan is converted into a conceptual design. It has nothing to do with aesthetics but rather focuses more on the functionality and architecture of the software.

Software prototypes are created to get feedback from users and make changes accordingly. It also helps to get funding from stakeholders or investors. During this phase, project managers need to keep track of progress.

After designing, it’s time to implement functionalities through coding. The software development team codes for features and functionalities. Developers work at the front end and back end to make reliable software that’s accepted by the target audience.

4. Test and Launch

Testing the quality of e-prescription software is as important as its development. During the testing phase check whether deadlines are met, the software is compliant, bug-free, and has high code quality.

Once this is wrapped up, the e-prescription software is ready to be launched. The software is maintained through regular updates and security checks.

Challenges of Incorporating E-Prescription Software

E-prescription software eliminates medication errors and improves patient outcomes. However, e-prescribing can pose certain challenges as well.

According to a study, e-prescriptions lead to more interactions between pharmacists the providers because of inaccurate, missing, and unclear information. If unresolved, these errors can hamper patients’ health.

Further, the e-prescription software development process can enhance the likelihood of errors. Poor screen design, drop-down menus, and automatic filling functions are potential sources of medication errors. Delays in the arrival of e-prescriptions can hamper further treatment plans.

Cost of E-Prescription Software Development

The cost of e-prescription software development varies according to custom or template design. Consider going for customized e-prescription software development as it provides software that’s created as per specific requirements.

Custom software development costs around $20,000 to $700,000 or more. The cost depends on the type of development team (in-house, outsourced, or freelance) and the region of the team (nearshore or offshore).

Software development cost is lower offshore than nearshore or onshore. Furthermore, features, functionalities, and the time taken for e-prescription software development also impacts overall expenses.

To know more about e-prescription software development or to get custom e-prescription software developed for your organization, get in touch with Arkenea. With over 10 years of experience in the healthcare software development sector, our team of experts is trained to offer cutting-edge healthcare software for your organization.