Canada makes e-prescribing push

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An effort to establish a national e-prescribing platform is under way in Canada.

Canada Health Infoway, a national digital health organization, has issued a request-for-proposal to health IT companies for PrescribeIT, a new e-prescribing service for the nation’s health care system.

Infoway said it’s looking for a tech partner or consortium to help design, build and operate PrescribeIT, which is envisioned as a single service to be scaled for use across the country. The service will enable prescribers to electronically transmit a prescription to a patient’s pharmacy of choice.

“PrescribeIT will help provide safer and more effective medication management, enhance patient safety, optimize existing drug information system investments and facilitate better health outcomes,” according to Michael Green, president and CEO of Infoway. “We encourage all interested parties to submit proposals to help develop a service that will aim to improve Canadians’ health outcomes while protecting the long-term sustainability of our health care system.”

At the Charting the Future of Drug Policy in Canada conference in June, Minister of Health Jane Philpott said the PrescribeIT service can play a key role in the government’s approach to drug policy.

“Budget 2016 provided $40 million to Canada Health Infoway to work with provinces and territories to develop an electronic prescribing system that could be useful in capturing prescribing data electronically,” Philpott stated. “This would have the advantage of capturing all prescriptions issued by doctors, not just what was dispensed.”

PrescribeIT also has drawn the support of the Canadian Pharmacists Association.

“When properly implemented, e-prescribing reduces the possibility of errors and reduces back-and-forth communication between health care providers,” Perry Eisenschmid, CEO of the Canadian Pharmacists Association, said at the conference. “We look forward to working with Canada Health Infoway to support the development and roll out of PrescribeIT, which we believe will help improve workflow and, most importantly, patient safety.”

An independent, federally funded unit, Canada Health Infoway is charged with driving the adoption of digital health solutions, including electronic health records, across Canada. Its members include Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial deputy ministers of health.


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