Electronic medical prescription: an overview of current status and issues

Document Type

Book chapter

Publication details

Sorwar, G & Murugesan, S 2010, 'Electronic medical prescription: an overview of current status and issues', in W Pease, M Cooper & R Gururajan (eds), Biomedical knowledge management: infrastructures and processes for e-health systems, IGI Global, Hershey, PA, pp. 61-81. ISBN: 139781605662664


Even today most medical prescriptions are typically handwritten or printed on paper and hand-delivered to pharmacists. Paper-based medical prescription is generating major concerns as the incidences of prescription errors have been increasing and causing minor to serious problems to patients, including deaths. Most of the problems of paper-based prescription can be avoided by electronic medical prescription, also variously known as electronic prescription, e-prescription, or electronic transmission of prescription. Though the basic concept of e-prescription is simple, e-prescription has not yet been widely adopted, despite advances in information and communication technologies – it is, in fact, just in early stages of adoption in a few countries only. To facilitate wider adoption of e-prescription, several technical and non-technical issues need to be addressed. This chapter presents an overview of electronic prescription. Beginning with an introduction to e-prescription, it examines various aspects of the e-prescription system, and describes and evaluates various e-prescription models and systems. The chapter then discusses technical and non-technical issues in implementing e-prescription, and concludes with our recommendations.