PrescribeIT appears to be well on its way to becoming the nationwide e-prescription service, after reaching agreements with seven provinces and territories, in addition to its previous agreements with Ontario, Alberta, and New Brunswick.
Additionally, some retailers including Sobeys Inc., Lawtons Drugs, and Safeway Inc. have integrated the service into their practices.
The service, which is the official e-prescription service of Canada Health Infoway, not only allows prescriptions to be created, re-filled, and sent to pharmacies without the need of the traditional prescription pad, but also provides integration that opens up lines of communication to help ensure no conflicting medicines are prescribed, that patients are taking their medicine, as well as other issues that can arise when communication is not effectively established.
Since first being adopted less than three years ago, it has been very popular among physicians, says Dr. Mohamed Alarakhia, a practicing physician in Ontario, and he says this is due to the connectivity it provides between physicians and pharmacists.
“For physicians, you’re sort of there on your lonesome. And what this allows to happen is that you become part of a virtual team,” said Dr. Alarakhia. “And so this allows you to form a strong team with that community of pharmacists, so that you can deal with those things in a more productive way.”
By streamlining the communication process, it has saved time and created more time that can be spent on actually helping patients, said Dr. Alarakhia.
“It has allowed us to focus more on patient care,” he said. “I’m getting prescription renewals right into my electronic medical records, so I don’t have to take extra steps to deal with them. So I can see patients faster. And so I think that there is that effect in terms of efficiencies, and seeing patients more quickly.”
Beyond the advantages that PrescribeIT provides to physicians, it has also created a simplified process for patients, as Dr. Alarakhia notes that patients can now select their preferred pharmacy and have the order ready to be picked up when they arrive at the pharmacy, instead of having to drop off the prescription and wait around for it to be filled.
Mario Voltolina, the chief technology officer of PrescribeIT, also says he believes this could help curb fraudulent prescriptions, an issue that has been magnified in the midst of the opioid crisis.
“One of the issues with paper-based prescriptions is that somebody these days can make really good photocopies of them,” said Voltolina. “And typically those copies are not detected until after the prescription has happened. Because of the multi-factor authentication and identity proofing, there isn’t a paper trail that would allow people to actually copy a prescription.”