Advances in pharmaceutical research have led to an ever increasing number of new prescription drugs entering the market. Often physicians have dozens of options available to treat a single condition. Some drugs may interact well with others, while some may not. Day-by-day prescribing the right drug in the right situation becomes more complex.
Where administration of medication is concerned, the new electronic health record (EHR) will become the guide and safeguard for the providers at St. Francis Hospital & Health Services. St. Francis is scheduled to launch the EHR through Project Beacon on March 31, 2012. The system will automatically cross check meds against other prescribed meds, diagnoses and labs results, and suggest changes or alternatives to avoid drug interactions that may adversely affect the patient’s treatment.
The new system can even make the prescription your doctor orders readable! Dr. Michael Wurm, Director of Informatics at St. Francis, notes that about three billion prescriptions are written annually, with 30% requiring clarification - a major waste of both the pharmacist's and doctor's time.
“This can significantly decrease the time and effort a patient needs to spend on getting a prescription filled,” says Dr. Wurm. “EHR reduces the need for clarification by ensuring legibility and giving immediate feedback on improper prescriptions.”
The EHR eliminates these legibility problems by offering the option of printing the prescription from a network printer or electronically transmitting the prescription to the patient’s pharmacy. This ensures accurate delivery of medication without time lost to the pharmacist clarifying hand-written prescriptions.
For inpatients, the system utilizes bar-codes to track each medication delivered at the patient’s bed-side to ensure only ordered medication and dosages are delivered.
The safety and satisfaction of patients continues to be of top priority during the EHR project. “We appreciate your patience with us as we become accustomed to this new system,” Dr. Wurm stated. “Thank you in advance for understanding and cooperation.”