How E-prescribing is Helping Save Billions of Dollars in the U.S. Healthcare Industry

E-prescribing constituted a market worth US$250.2 mn in 2015. Business intelligence firm Transparency Market Research estimates that the global e-prescribing market will have a staggering CAGR of 23.5% between 2013 and 2019, by which year the market will have a valuation of US$887.8 mn. These numbers speak volumes about the growing importance of e-prescribing in the healthcare industry. 

The United States has been at the forefront of the E-prescribing market, with states such as Massachusetts adopting e-prescriptions rather extensively. The initial trickle of investments in the electronic healthcare records (EHR) market has now turned into a gushing stream, brought about essentially by the success of early EHR models. The well-spread e-prescribing market in the United States has helped North America attain a dominant position in the global e-prescribing market. Thus, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the growing adoption of EHR has been a boon for the e-prescribing market. 

Irrespective of Size of Hospital, E-prescribing Systems Help Save Costs

Prescribing errors can prove costly, and in extreme cases, also fatal. The advent of e-prescribing has provided a solution for preventing costly prescription errors. Irrespective of the size of a hospital, reconciling a patient’s history can be a monetary burden. However, this is a burden that’s entirely avoidable. According to the 2014 National Progress Report published by Surescripts, reconciliation of the medication history of a patient can help small hospitals (with about 100 beds) cut 3,331 unnecessary staff hours, and also save US$1.1 mn per year. In the case of very large hospitals (with more than 1,000 beds), savings could amount to US$1,107,045 per year. 

Prior authorization is yet another advantage of e-prescribing and can help pharmacists and physicians save considerable time every week. An earlier study by Surescripts had estimated that first-fill medical adherence could help the United States healthcare industry save as much as US$240 bn over the next decade. 

Impenetrable Security Systems are Need of the Hour in E-prescribing Systems

However, despite all of these advantages, the global e-prescription market will have to contend with issues relating to internet connectivity problems. Since e-prescription services rely on the internet, the adoption of e-prescription tends to be low in rural areas. Unless countries proactively take steps toward improving their healthcare infrastructure, attaining success in the e-prescribing market will remain a distant dream. What further exacerbates this problem is the relatively slow return on investment that accrues from e-prescribing systems. Thus, even before hospitals and healthcare institutions decide on investing in e-prescribing systems, having a robust plan detailing the system’s meaningful use is imperative. 

That’s not all. Most e-prescribing systems are web-based and offer access to multiple users. This naturally brings in concerns about the security of such systems and more importantly, patient-related data. The global e-prescribing industry is in need of more impenetrable security walls with every e-prescribing system, no matter how small or large it is. 

However, although these problems are real, they are certainly not unsurmountable, ensuring that the global e-prescribing market experiences steady growth over coming years. 


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