E-Pharmacy: Advantages Of An Online Prescription

The evolution of ePharmacy has changed the way we access healthcare. With increased convenience, authenticity and accessibility, it has become the new normal for many people seeking prescription medication and medical advice online.

By Simran
09 Mar 2023

The healthcare industry is constantly evolving, and technology has played a significant role in this evolution. One of the most prominent changes is the shift towards online prescriptions and streamlined medical records. With the advent of digital health platforms, patients can now access their medical records and prescriptions online.


According to National Center for Biotechnology Information (2022), the preference for e-Pharmacy rose from 23 per cent in 2013 to around 59 per cent in 2018.


Another noteworthy study by Frost and Sullivan (Centers for Biotechnology Information) suggests that the expected development of the Indian e-drug store business would reach US$ 36 billion by 2022 from what was recorded in 2018 (US$ 512 million). It is predicted that nearly half of India's population will use technology for their medical needs as urbanisation increases.


Electronic prescribing, or e-prescribing, allows healthcare providers to send prescriptions online to pharmacies instead of writing them on paper. This technology has revolutionised how medications are prescribed and filled, providing a more efficient and secure way to manage patient prescriptions. 


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What is e-Prescribing?

E-prescribing involves the use of electronic devices, such as computers or smartphones, to create, transmit, and process prescription orders. The healthcare provider enters the prescription information into a computer or mobile device, which is then transmitted to the pharmacy of the patient’s choice. The pharmacy receives the prescription electronically and processes it like any other, dispensing it to the patient.


Related Story: Evolution And Rise of ePharmacy In India


Advantages of An Online Prescription

Seamless Access To Patient Records

With an online prescription system, healthcare providers can easily access patient records from anywhere with a secure internet connection. This can be especially useful in emergency situations or when patients are seeing multiple providers. The use of electronic health records (EHRs) began in the 1960s, but it wasn't until the 2000s that EHRs became widely adopted. In 2009, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act was signed into law, providing incentives for healthcare providers to adopt EHRs.

Also, online prescription systems can streamline record-keeping by storing all patient information in one centralised location. This can save time and reduce the risk of lost or misplaced records.


A survey conducted by Surescripts in 2020 found that e-prescribing can reduce patient wait times at the pharmacy by up to 40 per cent.

One of the primary advantages of online prescription services is the convenience they offer. Patients no longer need to physically visit their doctor's office or pharmacy to get a prescription. They can request a prescription from the comfort of their homes, using their smartphones or computers. This convenience is especially crucial for individuals with mobility issues, chronic illnesses, or busy schedules.


Faster Access To Medical Attention

Online prescription services offer faster access to medical attention than traditional paper-based prescription services. Patients can request a prescription from their healthcare provider at any time of the day or night. This is particularly important for individuals with urgent medical needs, such as those experiencing severe pain or discomfort.


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Improved Patient Engagement

Online prescription services also promote patient engagement in their healthcare. Patients can easily communicate with their healthcare providers through online platforms, ask questions, and receive prompt responses. This engagement improves patient satisfaction and adherence to treatment plans.


Reduced Errors

According to a 2020 study published in the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy, e-prescribing can reduce medication errors by up to 80 per cent.

Online prescription services significantly reduce the likelihood of errors that can occur during the paper-based prescription process. For example, illegible handwriting, incorrect dosages, and drug interactions are some of the common errors that can occur during the paper-based prescription process. Online prescription services eliminate these errors by allowing healthcare providers to input prescriptions directly into a digital system.


Improved Patient Outcomes

Online prescription records can improve patient outcomes by providing patients with accurate and timely information about their health. Patients can use online records to track their progress, manage their medications, and communicate with their healthcare providers.

A study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that patients who used an online patient portal had better control over their diabetes and blood pressure. The study found that patients who used the portal had lower HbA1c levels and blood pressure readings than those who did not use the portal.


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Improved Coordination of Care

Online prescription leads to increased coordination of care between healthcare providers. With electronic records, healthcare providers can easily access a patient's medical history and medication records, providing better care and reducing the risk of side effects from prescribed medication.

A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that the use of electronic health records (EHRs) improved the coordination of care and communication among healthcare providers. The study found that EHRs increased the likelihood of patients receiving recommended care by 23 per cent.


Increased Privacy

A survey conducted by Surescripts in 2020 found that 80 per cent of patients prefer e-prescriptions over paper prescriptions. One of the reasons for the same is privacy. Online prescription services provide better privacy and confidentiality for patients. Patients can access their prescription history securely and discreetly from their personal devices without worrying about exposing their medical information to others.


Lower Costs

A study published in the American Journal of Managed Care in 2021 found that e-prescribing can reduce medication costs by up to 10 per cent. Online prescription services can also help patients save money. Patients no longer need to travel to their doctor's office or pharmacy physically, which reduces transportation costs. Additionally, online prescription services promote price transparency, allowing patients to compare drug prices from different pharmacies and choose the most affordable option.


Improved Medication Adherence

Studies show that e-prescribing helps relieve this issue by increasing first-fill medication adherence by as much as 10 per cent. Online prescription services also improve medication adherence. Patients can access their prescription history and medication schedules easily, allowing them to stay on top of their medication regimens. Additionally, online prescription services provide automatic refill reminders, reducing the likelihood of missed doses.


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Enhanced Data Analytics

Online prescription systems can help providers gather and analyse data about patient health outcomes, medication use, and more. This can help providers identify trends, improve treatment protocols, and make more informed decisions about patient care.

Online prescription services offer numerous advantages over traditional paper-based prescription services. They are more convenient, provide faster access to medical attention, promote patient engagement, reduce errors, increase privacy, lower costs, and improve medication adherence. As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, online prescription services are likely to become increasingly prevalent, making it easier for patients to access the medications they need to manage their health conditions.


Need all your wellness solutions in one place? A whole new world awaits just a click away.


E-prescribing is an important tool that provides numerous benefits for healthcare providers, pharmacists, and patients. It has been shown to increase accuracy, improve patient safety, increase efficiency, and enhance security. Research and statistics have highlighted the importance of e-prescribing, showing that it can reduce medication errors and adverse drug reactions, improve patient satisfaction, and reduce medication costs. As e-prescribing technology continues to evolve, it is likely that its benefits will only continue to grow.


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