In our health care system, prescription information can be electronically transferred from the prescriber to the pharmacist, causing an increase in efficiency and safety along with a decrease in cost. This allows for an improvement in the quality of patient care. This study focused on the perspective of the patients on electronic-prescribing. Its objective was to find the impact of these e-prescribing systems on quality of care, on patient-pharmacist interaction, and on engagement in health care. The study conducted interviews with 12 patients. The results found both positive and negative perceptions on the e-prescribing system.
The positive perceptions were related to an improvement in convenience, safety and quality, and cost. There were less medication errors, such as those caused by the illegibility of a prescriber’s handwriting. The negative perceptions were associated with communication challenges between pharmacists and prescribers, prescriptions being sent to the wrong pharmacy, and the patient feeling as if he or she less control over prescriptions. A common concern expressed by the patients was the lack of opportunity to talk with the community pharmacist during the prescription drop-off step. Patients viewed this step as a chance to learn more about their medication before deciding to have it filled. As well, it provided pharmacists with a chance to discuss nonadherence issues with patients. Another concern was that, oftentimes, a patient would have no knowledge about their prescription, such as drug name or dosage, until reaching the pharmacy.
I found this study very interesting because it looked at the patients’ viewpoints on the use of technology in our health care system. Technology should not only benefit the health care providers, but it should also benefit the patients. Therefore, it is important to understand where patients stand on these issues. This study that was conducted may have allowed researchers to realize that e-prescribing may be decreasing opportunities for a patient-pharmacist relationship to develop. With knowledge about this information, pharmacists may want to put in extra effort to talk with their patients when they are picking up prescriptions to ensure that the patients are fully informed about the medications that they are taking. Being able to develop a relationship with patients is an important aspect of delivering high-quality patient care.
Frail CK, Kline M, Snyder ME. Patient perceptions of e-prescribing and its impact on their relationships with providers: A qualitative analysis. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2014;54:630-33