Electronic health records and e-prescribing in Australia: An exploration of technological utilisation in Australian community pharmacies

Amina Hareem, Ieva Stupans, Joon Soo Park, Julie E Stevens, Kate Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: This study aimed to assess the utilisation, benefits, and challenges associated with Electronic Health Records (EHR) and e-prescribing systems in Australian Community Pharmacies, focusing on their integration into daily practice and the impacts on operational efficiency, while also gathering qualitative insights from community pharmacists. Methods: A mixed-methods online survey was carried out among community pharmacists throughout Australia to assess the utilisation of EHR and e-prescribing systems, including the benefits and challenges associated with their use. Data was analysed based on pharmacists' age, gender, and practice location (metropolitan vs. regional). The chi-square test was applied to examine the relationship between these demographic factors and the utilisation and operational challenges of EHR and e-prescribing systems. Results: The survey engaged 120 Australian community pharmacists. Of the participants, 67 % reported usability and efficiency issues with EHR systems. Regarding e-prescribing, 58 % of pharmacists faced delays due to slow software performance, while 42 % encountered errors in data transmission. Despite these challenges, the benefits of e-prescribing were evident, with 79 % of respondents noting the elimination of illegible prescriptions and 40 % observing a reduction in their workload. Issues with prescription quantity discrepancies and the reprinting process were highlighted, indicating areas for improvement in workflow and system usability. The analysis revealed no significant statistical relationship between the utilisation and challenges of EHR and e-prescribing systems with the demographic variables of age, gender and location (p > 0.05), emphasising the necessity for healthcare solutions that address the needs of all pharmacists regardless of specific demographic segments. Conclusion: In Australian community pharmacies, EHR and e-prescribing may enhance patient care but come with challenges such as data completeness, technical issues, and usability concerns. Implementing successful integration relies on user-centric design, standardised practices, and robust infrastructure. While demanding for pharmacists, the digital transition improves efficiency and quality of care. Ensuring user-friendly tools is crucial for the smooth utilisation of digital health.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105472
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Informatics
Volume187
Early online date8 May 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 May 2024

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