Traditionally, healthcare professionals had to prescribe patient’s medication either by writing a script, calling in a prescription to patient’s pharmacy. The use of scripts is often prone to prescription errors that can have life threatening consequences. Healthcare professionals have been known to have difficult to read handwriting that pharmacists cannot decipher. This causes a pharmacist to either fill a prescription incorrectly or not fill the prescription at all. If the physician is not readily available to confirm the prescription, the patient may have to wait a day or longer for a critical prescription.
Electronic prescribing is in essence, the writing of prescriptions with the assistance of computers. This could mean that the individual is using a hand-held PDA and touch screen to input/write the prescription, or alternatively it could be typed in using a laptop or even a full-sized computer. Electronic prescribing can also be referred to as a means of sending prescriptions electronically from a doctor to a pharmacy. While almost any computer can be successful in running the electronic prescribing system, touch screen hand held electronics have been the focus of many of the programs.