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Decision management is critical for successful e-prescription

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MSNBC had an interesting article on Docs to get bonus pay for e-prescriptions. The article had a great comment:

The biggest reason for the paperless push is to improve safety. More than 1.5 million Americans are injured every year by medication mistakes. Deciphering doctors’ chicken-scratch — was that 100 milligrams or 100 micrograms? — does play a role. But perhaps more important, electronic prescribing systems can flash an alert if the dose seems wrong or patient records show use of another drug that can dangerously interact

This is the benefit most often trotted out for e-prescription however e-prescription is necessary but not sufficient for this kind of result. Only if the systems receiving the prescription are decision-enabled will mistakes about doses and drug interactions be detected. What is more, these decisions cannot be automated using code – programmers should not be relied on to understand the medical issues involved. Medical staff must be brought into the process of defining how these decisions are automated and that means using business rules to manage these decisions.

Successful e-prescription will save money and lives, but only if it is backed by decent healthcare decision management.

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