The ability for doctors to issue prescriptions electronically is a key element of a well-functioning, digitalized health and care sector.
09 March 2021
The best e-prescription systems not only do away with the inefficiencies of paper-based systems, but minimize the risk of the wrong medicine being given to the patient. In the worst cases, prescription errors can cause injury or death.
The Ministry of Health and Care Services commissioned the Norwegian Directorate of Health, now the Norwegian Health Network (NHN), to develop an electronic interaction chain for easy and secure transmission of prescription information.
The goal was to reduce the risk of errors in the prescribing and dispensing of medicines, as well as free up resources and create a good public service. The solution had to meet strict requirements for security and privacy, as well as be a building block for national e-health initiatives such as electronic core medical records.
Tore Angell Petersen works in DC Integration & API Management at TietoEVRY. In close partnership with the Norwegian Directorate of Health, the Norwegian Directorate for e-Health and NHN, he and his team have spent several years developing and refining a solution called Reseptformidleren.
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The switch to electronic prescriptions has been very successful and over 80-90% of all prescriptions issued today are electronic,” Tore says. “In total, more than 500 million prescription messages are sent through the solution every year. The vast majority of doctors' offices, emergency rooms and pharmacies today use electronic prescriptions, and now the hospitals are also connected.”
The goal is for the proportion of electronic prescriptions to approach 100%. And now it is the dentists, nurses, and care practioners who will also be able to benefit.
“TietoEVRY is a strategic partner for NHN and currently has an operating and development agreement for the solution's core application,” Tore explains. “Reseptformidleren is a complex application with integration with several other solutions. These include electronic patient records where doctors prescribe prescriptions and a digital version of the prescription database with information on all approved preparations. The next step forward to reach our goal is to establish the solutions within dentists and nursing and care services.”
Reseptformidleren provides greater security for both the patient and the doctor. Patients are less likely to lose their prescription. Not can they change their prescription after the doctor has issued it. The system can also help paramedics to correctly treat patients in emergencies where medicines are needed.
When Tore’s manager told him that there was an opening on the team working with Reseptformidleren, he could not let the opportunity pass.
“Reseptformidleren is a huge and complex system so there are always new challenges, and I have a soft spot for software development that contributes to better health for the greater public. I was therefore thrilled when I got the chance to jump into a new team working with the solution.”
The service has been up and running for 13 years. With an uptime of more than 99.99%, the solution is one of the directorate of eHealth’s biggest success stories.
“The solution is reaching all of Norway’s population. Even though we are not seen or felt most of the time, we are contributing to a secure health service. I might go so far as claim that we are the silent heroes that make prescriptions-based healthcare run smoother,” Tore says, smiling.
Today, Tore is working in a team of twelve people involved in this successful project within NHN.
“My team is a great and diverse team. The fact that some of us are from different cultures makes for better discussions, and our ideas comes from several different viewpoints. That helps us to make solutions that benefits a whole society and not only a group of people.”
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