APRIL 2021 – Covid-19 is spurring the adoption of virtual care, and with it the use of e-prescribing by community pharmacists. Attendees of the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy’s “Accelerating the Pace of Change” Pharmacy Forum in April heard from two Ontario pharmacist/owners enrolled in Canada Health Infoway’s e-prescribing platform, PrescribeIT. They say it’s saving them significant time, improving response time from physicians and contributing to happier patients.
PrescribeIT user Andy Donald, pharmacist/owner and CEO of the Health Depot Pharmacy in London, Ont., says enrolling in the platform just made sense to him given that virtual care is the direction of the future. “To be able to bring that level of collaboration and care we see in hospital into the community—this platform is like having the doctor next door and you’re text messaging.”
The platform, which integrates with existing pharmacy systems, electronic medical records and even some drug formularies, allows for tracking of prescriptions and secure messaging between prescribers and pharmacies. Donald believes this kind of ongoing connection between prescriber and pharmacy will help enhance the community pharmacist’s role as the medication expert physicians can rely on. “We’re no longer behind a fax wall…they see we can help in solving medication problems and monitoring the safety of medications going forward.”
Donald says having that direct communication line with prescribers is also important in being able to quickly authenticate or extend prescriptions, especially when it comes to opioids. “Now that we have more [scope] as pharmacists during the pandemic, it’s even more crucial to have this communication with doctors,” he says
For pharmacist/owner Kyro Maseh of Lawlor Pharmasave in Toronto, PrescribeIT has alleviated significant frustration he used to face in reaching prescribers. “After the pandemic there was a ton more prescribers jumping on board…now when I see that one of my prescribers is on PrescribeIT, I breathe a sigh of relief as I know that the communication is going to be quick and easy,” he says.
Bhavesh Modi, Director, Pharmacy Relations and Deployment at PrescribeIT, says the platform is live in five provinces, including Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland—with more coming. “Our objective is to create a financially self-sustaining e-prescribing service and be the national go-to solution for electronic transmission of prescriptions,” he says, adding that current partnerships represent 50% of pharmacies in Canada.