The Food and Drug Administration estimates that over 100,000 patients get hospitalized annually due to medication errors. In another study, medication error is the eighth leading cause of death in the US, claiming the lives of over 44,000 patients annually.
Hospitals strive to minimize the risks of inappropriate drug prescription and conduct. While it can be challenging to do it manually, prescriptions (eRX) integration can come to your rescue. eRX software allows hospitals to avoid prescription errors, missed doses and overdoses. Moreover, it enhances patient experience when it comes to buying prescription medicine.
Numerous health establishments around the world acknowledge and are already experiencing the benefits of an electronic prescription app. In 2020, 84% of all prescriptions were already managed electronically in the US, which is an exciting 18% increase from 2017. Experts anticipate the overall e-prescribing market to reach $4,152.7 million by 2026.
But how do you get it? Luckily, you do not have to develop your software from scratch or sign up for yet another separate service. You can easily integrate it into your existing hospital management solution via e-prescription API for the medical app and enjoy error-free prescriptions on the go.
This article explores how to apply an app for e-prescribing in detail what you need to know before integrating e-prescribing into a medical app, and the best ways to do it. Keep reading to also learn more about medical prescription app development.
How Does Electronic Prescribing Work?
With electronic prescribing, physicians can create and send prescriptions electronically with the help of a computer, tablet, or mobile phone. Professionals are using tech rather than writing medicine down on paper, faxing, or making a phone call.
The doctor can choose from a wide list of pharmacies and fill in the details about the brand name, the dose, and instructions for the patient. The prescription is sent directly to the pharmacy and a patient can pick up their medicine right after the appointment—their order will already be packed and ready.
If there is a need for a refill, a pharmacy can send a request to the doctor and get approval or disapproval. So patients do not even have to sign up for an additional in-office appointment just to get that small piece of paper.
As a result, every party benefits from the solution:
- No more paperwork that can easily get lost or forgotten
- Fewer errors because typed letters are way easier to understand than handwriting
- Physicians can check whether the drug is contradicting other medicine that the patient takes and whether they are allergic to it since e-prescribing is connected to an EHR
- Better controlled substance management since there is a digital trail
- Patients do not have to wait at the pharmacy
- Physicians can see whether the patient picked up their prescription and adheres to the treatment
Preparing an App for Integrating Electronic Prescriptions
You already understand how does electronic prescriptions work. Now it’s time to learn the limits of e-prescriptions and some of the regulations you need to adhere to. You need to ensure that your chosen software complies with
Security means that the patient data will not leak or be exposed to third parties that are not supposed to see this. This is regulated by HIPAA in the US and GDPR in Europe. Basically, e-prescription integration has to:
- Limit access to the data: you have to use authorization (logins, passwords, SMS notifications) to gain access to the data and let the only physician and pharmacy organizations concerned to see the information
- Log activity: track who saw the PHI and what they did with it
- Advanced encryption and decryption for the safe storage and transfer of data
- Automatic logouts after the period of inactivity
Policies on E-prescriptions
There are also specific requirements for e-prescriptions. They control who can prescribe and what.
- Firstly, the doctor needs to go through prescriber verification. Prescribers who are not certified by the Drug Enforcement Administration will not be able to prescribe controlled substances. Physicians can verify themselves for the app usage through ID.me or Imprivata.
- Next, the DEA wants prescribers to authorize it every time they make an e-prescription. Physicians will need to enter the password and log in and use biometric identification. Some software uses hard tokens as well. The main point is that doctors should go through two steps to sign the prescription.
- Lastly, the app needs to report directly to the DEA when the doctor makes an electronic prescription so that they can easily track the responsible person if there is any mistake or misconduct.
You should also learn about your state’s policies on e-prescriptions of controlled substances since they differ slightly.
If the healthcare organization does not follow these policies or chooses software that does not comply, it may face fines and other legal repercussions. So it is essential to learn about all the rules beforehand: it takes time and effort but it will save you money and effort spent on lawyers and court cases in the future.
How to Integrate E-Prescribing into Your Medical Software or App?
If you want to build your eRX solution from scratch, you’d need to get a certification from Surescripts and become a part of their network. Surescripts Network Alliance is the company that connects all national EHRs, pharmacies, PBMs, clinicians, and specialty pharmacy organizations. Surescripts powers around 85% of all prescriptions in the US and getting your app approved by it can take several months. Thus, building custom eRx apps from scratch may not be the best idea after all.
Alternatively, you can use an e-prescription API for healthcare to connect the existing e-prescription software to your existing solutions. That way, you will not have to switch between different apps and keep everything within one system. It saves time and provokes less confusion about learning to navigate yet another software.
There is three main e-prescribing software for physicians that work as integrations rather than a standalone solution: Truepill, Dosespot, or MD toolbox.
Let’s take a closer look at every API.
Truepill is a white label that delivers medicine to your patient’s door. You can add an API to your existing solution, create a patient there and create a prescription, or create a prescription within your EMR/EHR and let Truepill process it.
This e-prescribing solution works across the US and connects pharmacies and patients directly. There are no fixed prices for API use: you have to contact the company to get an individual fee. Truepill takes a small percentage out of every transaction.
You can customize Truepill and choose what features to use.
With Dosespot, you can have two options: plug-and-play which will get you started within a day, or plus+ which opens room for full customization. The chosen option depends fully on what you need at the moment.
- Jumpstart allows you to change fonts, font sizes, colors, and much more. As a result, it will look like your digital health, EHR, or telehealth software and doctors will need little time to accustom to integrating e-prescribing into medical software.
- Plus+ allows you to create your UX and UI for even deeper integration. You can choose the workflow and interface so it works like building your app from scratch but in a way less complicated manner.
Dosespot offers a free trial and custom pricing based on your organization’s size. You do not have to pay extra for the integration services—they are already a part of the monthly charges.
MD Toolbox is probably one of the most famous award-winning solutions. You can use it both as an integration or as a standalone e-prescription software for doctors.
The reason why this software is so popular is its rich feature set. They have all classical features like sending e-prescriptions and requesting a refill on top of a favorite list feature to access popular drugs easily, an embedded drug library for quick information checks, and a calculator that analyzes the patient and the drug and recommends the best dosage. You can use the app across all devices and even prescribe controlled substances.
There is a 30-day free trial and very affordable and transparent monthly plans. They start at $28 per month and do not require long-term contracts. You can also contact MD Toolbox to set up individual prices based on the size of your hospital.
Even if it is a plug-and-play solution, you will still need help in integrating e-prescribing into EHR properly and customizing the solution. Otherwise, it may be faulty or just not work with your existing system at all.
You can turn to Langate to handle the e-prescribing integration and customization for you. We have more than 17 years of experience in the healthcare industry and know the intricacies of most healthcare software. Our experts will make sure that your e-prescribing integration works just fine and employees will have the most pleasant and non-stressful experience of working with the new solution because of high-level customization.
Wrapping It Up
Having employees file papers, send faxes, and make numerous phone calls to pharmacies for prescriptions is becoming obsolete, especially because of how time-consuming and prone to mistakes it can be. If you want to access all the benefits of e-prescribing software without doing much work, you can integrate an existing solution via API and customize it to feel and look like your current app.
If you need help with electronic prescription app development, do not hesitate to reach out to Langate! Our professionals with more than 15 years of experience in the industry will ensure the flawless functioning of your new API. We are also a HIPAA-compliant development center and will make sure that your new integration follows all the legal regulations.