E-prescription a benefit of NIDS
Electronic prescribing, or e-prescribing, is a potential major spin-off benefit of the National Identification System (NIDS), which could result in significant financial and time savings as well as improved safety for patients.
This was one of the issues highlighted by Richard Delapenha from the Office of the Prime Minister during a presentation of the NIDS which was passed into law. However, the parliamentary Opposition, the People's National Party, has challenged the constitutionality of the proposed national identification system, on which the Supreme Court is slated to deliver its decision early next year.
Delapenha used a National Health Research Conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston last Thursday, to sell the benefits of e-prescription to a wide range of local health professionals.
"We have a lot of persons who lose and damage their paper prescriptions every year, resulting in a number of trips to the doctor and a lot of time wasted. The cost in terms of productivity is high. So there are opportunities that we could look at and E-prescription is one of them," he said.
E-prescribing layered on to the technology framework of NIDS would allow physicians and other medical practitioners to write and send prescriptions electronically to participating pharmacies.
In other jurisdiction where this has replaced handwritten, faxed or phone transmission of prescriptions, it has resulted in improved patient safety. The improved legibility, decrease in waiting time for preparation and dispensing of medication has resulted in less medication errors and adverse drug events.
Sending the prescription directly the patient's pharmacy of choice reduces the waiting in the pharmacy, and also opens the door for other improved service opportunities locally, Delapenha pointed out.
"NIDS is just a foundation laying a platform for identity management but what can happen, what we can really derive from that platform is what needs to be talked about and looked at, and you could probably have the pharmacies delivering drugs or medications right at your door," he said.
"You just hand in your ID and are able to get your drugs is something that could be looked at. This would result in the use of less paper, more structure in terms of transparency and provide accurate prescriptions, because the difficulty of reading doctors' handwriting would be effectively removed."