An Electronic Prescription System has been launched by the Extremadura Regional Government of Spain and IBM in 680 pharmacies in Extremadura. Now the health centres and pharmacies are computerised with ability of prescribing and dispensing prescribed medications electronically. The electronic prescriptions makes it easier for patients and doctors to monitor and control treatment. The quality of care also improves as doctors have up to 30% more time for patient consultations, according to Extremadura Health Service. Any primary health care center in the region can be accessed to access and update each patient’s electronic record. Many patients can get refills of the prescriptions without going to doctor’s office, working alongside pharmacists who are in direct contact with health professionals.
The technology and the consulting services are being provided by IBM for the project. This enables Extremadura Health Service using a common technology system for covering 107 health centres in the region. Over the past seven months, more than a million electronic prescriptions have been dispensed in Extremadura. The process consists of doctor accessing JARA, the Extremadura Health System’s electronic medical records database that provides prescription assistance tools. The patient’s electronic medical record is automatically updated and the treatment is recorded in the system. Patients receive a list of prescribed medicines and dosage instructions that have a bar-code, or ‘identity mark, for their individual treatment. Furthermore, the pharmacists note the refill using the patients health card and bar-code. The pharmacist fills the encrypted prescription from updated health record and the patient information is kept confidential. IBM is working with clients around the world to create smarter healthcare systems. This includes better integrated data so doctors, patients and insurers can share information seamlessly and efficiently; moving away from paper records in order to reduce medical errors and improve efficiencies; and applying advanced analytics to vast amounts of data to improve medical research, diagnosis and treatment.