How to code e-Prescriptions – a success story
How to code e-Prescriptions?
CLIENT AT THE CENTRE
The Polish e-Health Centre (CeZ) aims to improve the quality of medical services by building an information society and developing e-health in Poland. The Electronic Platform for Collection, Analysis and Sharing of Digital Resources on Medical Events – P1 is a key project of the e-Health Centre whose most important element is the electronic prescription service. e-Prescribing has long been a priority in the digitalisation of the healthcare sector in Poland. For many years, similar systems have been in use across the EU.
In 2017, Pentacomp won the e-Prescription tender process and was selected as its contractor. Our proposal was supported by our 8 years’ experience in the healthcare sector including an effective integration of hospitals with the Podkarpackie Medical Information System. We also took part in the adaptation of the HL7 standard recommended by the EU. Our previous experience turned out to be of paramount importance – building an electronic system of prescriptions for the whole country with an outlook for future cross-border cooperation requires a good understanding of global standards of data exchange between IT systems, adapted to Polish conditions. The integration of the e-Prescription service will encompass all pharmacies and medical facilities whose systems are often very different from one another. We were aware of the problems faced by many experienced experts in similar situations.
TEST OF STRENGTH
Throughout the project, we worked under enormous time pressure. From the very beginning, we undertook intensive work in a new form with a strong focus on the goal, which is why we decided to apply the familiar Agile approach. A large 70-person team dedicated to the project made its management an even bigger challenge. Additionally, it is commonly believed the use of SCRUM is not feasible in public-sector projects. In reality, SCRUM allowed for a smooth and flexible response to the client’s changing needs, as well as an incremental delivery of results. The e-Health Centre was in turn given full insight into each stage of the project and the possibility to make changes to the direction of work on an ongoing basis.
In collaboration with the e-Health Centre, Pentacomp made sure the e-Prescription service was in compliance with the Polish National Implementation of HL7 CDA and the IHE PRE profile. Full integration of the system elements was achieved after less than 7 months. The e-Prescription pilot programme was launched in Skierniewice and Siedlce as early as February 2018. All medical facilities and pharmacies had to do to be able to issue and realise e-prescriptions was update their software.
Our work helped the e-Health Centre fulfil their statutory obligations and meet the prescribed deadlines. The healthcare system has gained full control over the distribution of reimbursable drugs. Thanks to the e-Prescription service, medical facilities benefit from a reduction in prescribing costs, while pharmacies are able to streamline the process of prescription realisation. E-Prescribing is characterised by higher transparency, enhanced credibility and improved clarity.
The solution provides, however, most benefits to patients themselves:
- time savings and increased safety,
- no more illegible prescriptions,
- clear and concise dosage information,
- improved care for the chronically ill,
- reduced risk of undesirable drug interactions.
In the end, together with the e-Health Centre, we managed to show the e-Prescription service can be successfully realised. Together we made an important step towards full digitalisation of the Polish healthcare system.