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Health Care Using Health Information Technology

Introduction

Health Information Technology (health IT) has enabled health care providers to administer patient care more efficiently. Evidently, there is increased utilization and sharing of health information. Constantly increasing amount of information is stored electronically. Indicatively, the previous period involved the storage of information on paper. The management of health records has potentially transformed. The application of IT in health is crucial. It enables health care providers to record precise and comprehensive information. This information regards individuals’ health. Effectively coordinated health care processes are presently eminent. Health care providers can securely share information with patients over the internet. This enables patients to be involved in the decision-making processes (U.S.D.H & H.S., 2011).

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Electronic Prescription refers to the prescription of drugs to patients via electronic means. It is mostly referred to as E-prescribing and is one of the vital areas of IT application within the healthcare systems (Wolper, 2011). In other words, Electronic Prescription is a method in which prescriptions are generated through a computerized data entry process where E-prescribing software is used. The information is transmitted to pharmacies linked to the software. In the United States, the use of E-Prescribing has become common, and the government encourages its use as well. This paper discusses E-Prescribing focusing on emerging lessons and discussion topics on E-Prescribing.

Emerging Lessons

The tools used in E-prescription should be capable to indicate the actual medication that a pharmacist has given to an individual. This information may be obtained from Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). The PBMs usually process prescriptions for organizations that pay for drugs. These organizations are primarily insurance companies and other corporations. In most cases, the PBMs take advantage of their large sizes in negotiations with drug manufacturers and pharmacies. They mediate between actors in health care service provision and the payers (Wolper, 2004). In addition, E-prescription service providers like SureScripts can provide such complete information. The reason for that is that many participants in the health care system can easily obtain information from SureScripts. The information can be passed through a writing system that electronically writes the prescription. This enables health care service providers to see a complete medication history of the patient and present accurate drugs to patients. However, sharing of information regarding the patients’ medication has to be secured. This is because the privacy of patients has to be respected. In addition, some patients may not want their medication records to be accessed by many people. Actors in the health care sector, who use E-prescription, should seek permission from patients to share information about them.

Secondly, the appropriateness of the mode of transmission is an emerging lesson. The mode should be secure, reliable, and adequately informative. A new standard of transmission of information (NCPDP-SCRIPT) has been adopted. SCRIPT is used to ease the movement of prescription information between providers of health care and payers. NCPDP SCRIPT enables messages concerning new changes in prescriptions to be sent. Additionally, desires for restocking, abandonment of prescription, and instructions can be sent through it (Wolper, 2011). This method is appropriate, and its development should be promoted. It provides a complete and comprehensive medication history.

E-prescribing has become popular in the United States. The technology has numerous benefits for patients and health care providers. However, a considerable number of organizations have not adopted the use of E-prescribing. An emerging lesson concerning E-prescribing is the need for thorough training of stakeholders involved. These stakeholders are inadequately trained on the benefits of E-Prescription and the principles that govern it. These individuals must understand the operations of E-prescribing and the intersection it has with clinical care. Training of health care providers on the use of health information technology is vital. Training of stakeholders ensures that planning, implementation, and use of E-prescribing succeed (Wolper, 2004).

Discussion Topics

E-Prescribing has grown the time and has become popular. However, further discussions are necessary to address some issues. One of the topics that need further discussion concerns digital certification. Organizations that use E-prescribing in health care delivery services should be required to have digital certificates. In addition, there should be a mechanism for testing whether they use digital certificates for transactions that are appropriate. This will assist in ensuring that information about patients’ medication is secure. Information about a patient’s medication history should be private. Consequently, individuals who have access to that information should secure it.

The other topic of discussion concerning the use of E-Prescribing involves the use of controlled substances which is usually monitored. Consequently, E-Prescribing of controlled substances should be monitored as well. This, therefore, means that the mechanism for testing use of digital certificates should include testing of compliance with the rules concerning the use of these substances. These rules are normally enforced by the Department of Enforcement Administration (DEA) (Wolper, 2011).

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A discussion topic is also on standardization of the data fields used in E-prescribing systems. The formats for entering data that are used in grouping patients should be standardized. This should be done so as to avoid confusion. Standardization of data fields also ensures that basic information of patients is obtained in the same format. Information that must first be captured includes the language of patients, sex, patients’ race, date of birth, and address. This information assists pharmacists to know who they are prescribing drugs to. It also enables them to make correct judgments.

Finally, the other discussion topic is whether E-Prescribing providers and pharmacies require patients to have user names and passwords. This should be applied to ensure that the patients’ information security is guaranteed. User names and passwords will also help the pharmacists in authenticating patients (Wolper, 2004). A patient’s medication history is sensitive information that requires adequate protection. However, the guidelines for authentication should be easy to follow. This ensures that patients are not discouraged from using E-Prescribing services.

Conclusion

Health care provision has improved in the United States due to the use of health Information Technology. Health Information Technology has led to the rise of E-prescribing, a method in which prescription is done through electronic means. The use of E-prescribing has numerous advantages. This paper aimed at discussing emerging lessons on the use of E-prescription. The capacity of E-prescribing systems to provide actual information about medication given by a pharmacist is vital. Other emerging concerns discussed include the security, reliability, and informative ability of E-prescribing systems.

The need for digital certification is crucial as well. It is one of the topics that need further discussions and assessment. Its proper analysis and practice can ensure that E-Prescribing systems are appropriately used in transactions. There are other weighty topics including compliance to DEA rules regarding the use of controlled substances. Apart from this, standardization of data entry fields in E-prescribing systems must also be considered. The paper also discussed the application of controlled systems to improve information security.

References

U.S.D.H & H.S. (2011). Health Information Technology. Web.

Wolper, L. F. (2004). Health care administration: Planning, implementng, and managing organized delivery systems. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Wolper, L. F. (2011). Health care administration: Managing organized delivery systems. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

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