Limitations of E-Prescription


Although e-prescribing has the ability to increase the system's efficiency and streamline workflow process, the implementation and adoption of new technology does not come without drawbacks. Some of these challenges and limitations are addressed below:

  1. Return on Investment (ROI) and financial cost: Clinical practices need to invest significantly in both software and hardware, with varying costs based on system specifications (entire EHR system or a standalone system). E-prescription costs can be expensive for many small clinical practices. Costs are imminent with purchasing, implementing, supporting, maintaining and upgrading an e-prescription system.

  2. Change in management: The challenges related to change in management in the changeover from paper-based prescriptions to e-prescribing must be taken seriously. When busy healthcare providers and associated staff are accustomed to their current management system, a change in management becomes extremely important. Many staff members maybe comfortable with manual work practices and may have aversions to technology.

  3. Software and hardware selection: Choosing the right software applications and hardware platform can be difficult task. There may be limited access to people of information technology, who can guide them how to start. In addition, appropriate vendor selection and long term support to ensure continuous functionality is essential.

  4. Erroneous alerts: Many opt to turn off the software notifications (pop-up alerts), disabling one of the systems great beneficial aspects. An ill-defined software is also a big limitation.

  5. Integrity of data input: Software vendors should continually follow best practices in user interface design and review user feedback. This is done to prevent accidental data entry errors, such as selecting the wrong choice in a menu of dosages.

  6. System downtime: There can be periods of system downtime, for example hardware failure, loss of electricity or network-related issues. This inability, even temporary, to use e-prescribing is of great concern, and adequate solutions must sought beforehand for such situations.

  7. Security and Privacy: As patient information is stored in electronic format, there is possibility of inadvertently divulging protected health information on the internet. Clinics, hospitals and pharmacies should be protected with firewalls, put strict computer permission settings, and should always remain watchful towards intrusion.

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