HIQA launches consultation on the future of community-based ePrescribing

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has launched a public consultation on information requirements for ePrescribing in a community setting.

As part of this six-week consultation, HIQA has published the Draft Standard for consultation: Information requirements for community-based ePrescribing.

HIQA is developing standards to define the information requirements for the implementation of community-based ePrescribing and dispensing in Ireland.

Information requirements are a minimum set of data items that are recommended for implementation in information systems that create and transfer information to support the delivery of safe and quality care to patients.

The inclusion of data in the minimum set of data is determined by its clinical relevance and the potential for the data to improve patient safety in a collaborative care environment.

HIQA’s Standards and Technology Manager, Dr Kevin O’Carroll, said: “A national ePrescribing service can benefit prescribers by enabling the safe electronic sharing of prescription information.

“Prescribers can receive notifications when a patient collects a prescription from a pharmacy, enabling the prescriber to ensure follow-up with the patient. There may also be reduced interruptions from pharmacies that have queries about prescriptions or need corrections to a prescription.

“A national ePrescribing service can also benefit pharmacists through the electronic downloading of prescription details, rather than manual entry.

“This can make the dispensing process more efficient and can reduce errors, thus increasing patient safety. It can also reduce the time the pharmacist spends contacting prescribers to query, clarify or get a correction for a prescription, which improves the quality of prescribing.

Dr O’Carroll added: “HIQA is committed to stakeholder consultation and values all feedback provided to support the development of standards to define the information requirements for the implementation of community-based ePrescribing.

“The consultation process will take place over a six-week period. In this way, the public, service users and service providers will have the opportunity to provide feedback and become involved in the future of ePrescribing in Ireland.”

The closing date for receipt of comments is 5pm on Friday, 31 August 2018.

Rachel Flynn, HIQA Director of Health Information

HIQA’s Director of Health Information and Standards, Rachel Flynn, said: “A national, community-based ePrescribing programme can deliver significant benefits for patients, prescribers and pharmacists. It can improve patient safety considerably by reducing cases of mistaken identity, incorrect dosage, incorrect medication and adverse drug interactions. ePrescribing can also save money and time compared to processing the same prescriptions manually.”

ePrescribing is used to describe all aspects of the generation and transfer of prescriptions electronically using a dedicated system, whether in paper or electronic form, rather than faxing or emailing the prescription.

Based on the final version of the information requirements, HIQA will develop technical specifications to support the implementation of the information requirements.

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