Mike Pritts, executive vice president of product innovation at Surescripts, recently wrote a blog post touting the importance of IT automation to the healthcare industry.
One of the aspects of the industry that Pritts said is helped by IT automation is work at pharmacies.
"Currently, 20 to 30 percent of patients will abandon their prescriptions at the pharmacy," Pritts wrote in the blog post. "In the absence of an integrated and automated electronic process, it can take a matter of hours or days for patients to receive medications that require prior authorization, in addition to clinicians wasting time on administration duties -- including phone calls and faxing -- instead of delivering patient care. But by automating the prior authorization process, it becomes the first line of defense against poor medication adherence, ensuring that patients have timely access to the medications they need, when they need them."
Pritts also discussed the importance of having IT automation that includes the use of electronic prescribing for controlled substances, emphasizing the need to track and monitor controlled substance prescriptions to help combat drug diversion, particularly with the recent rescheduling of hydrocodone to a Schedule II drug.
The blog post also encourages IT automation for hospitals and health systems of any size. Having real-time access to patient data, including medication history, can improve patient safety and outcomes, according to Pritts. IT automation can reduce errors and readmissions and decrease adverse events.
According to Pritts, IT automation can also help hospitals and health systems save money.
"Moreover, utilization of automated medication reconciliation in acute care settings, such as emergency rooms, improves providers’ bottom lines, with very large health systems standing to recoup costs upwards of $1 million per 1000 bed hospital, per year," Pritts wrote.