Medical prescriptions are a vital component of workflow in any hospital or physician practice. The traditional handwritten prescribing process is error-prone and inconvenient. E-prescribing includes entering information about medication prescription in an automated data entry system (PC, handheld, or others) and generating prescriptions electronically rather than conventional written ones.
Currently, in ambulatory settings e-prescribing occurs in two forms, by using ambulatory electronic medical records (AMR) on PC or handheld devices or by using e-prescribing software on handheld devices. Given the inefficiency and complexities in the traditional prescription approach, the e-prescribing process is safer, more accurate, and minimizes risks related to medical errors and adverse drug events. The growing government initiatives and incentives, rising adoption of electronic health record (EHR) solutions, increasing demand for reducing medication errors, and escalating healthcare costs drive market growth.
The global e-prescribing market size was valued at USD 2.11 billion in 2022. It is projected to reach USD 10.26 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 19.20% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
Electronic Health Records (EHR) are becoming a significant component of healthcare systems. With advancements in technology, standalone workstations that were used in past for data storage have moved to the cloud. With this, the process has become efficient, portable, and rapidly transferable. EHR has improved access to patient medical records for better patient management and engagement.
As per the World Health Organization (WHO), over the past 15 years, there has been sturdy growth in the adoption of national electronic health record (EHR) systems. Moreover, it reported a 46% global rise in the adoption of EHR in the last five years. Benefits of an electronic health record (EHR) system include reduced labor cost, less operational expenses, and lower need for transcription services to access complete and accurate patient information at point-of-care.
Medication errors include any preventable cause or event with inappropriate medication use that can harm the patient under the control of the patient or healthcare professional or consumer. The Food and Drug Administration estimated that annually about 1.3 million people are injured by medication errors in the U.S. Medication errors can occur while prescribing a drug, entering the information into the computer, the drug being dispensed, or when the drug is taken or given by the patient.
Serious medication errors can lead to life-threatening situations, defects, disability, and sometimes death. As per the General Medical Council data of 2018, approximately 9% and 15% of medication errors were reported in hospital inpatients in the U.K. With the help of the e-prescribing system, these errors and faults can be reduced by 85% by implementing an alert and warning system while accessing any medical history or information.
The solutions segment dominates the market, primarily due to their high penetration and software cost. On the other hand, the services segment is anticipated to show the highest growth during the forecast period. As per the data released by the Center for Studying Health System Change (CSHSC), technological complexities, incomplete patient data, and physician’s attitude are prime factors affecting the uptake of e-prescribing systems in most outpatient settings. In addition to this, government initiatives and incentive programs for integrated prescribing are expected to drive the uptake of e-prescription solutions in hospitals, clinics, and other settings.
The handheld device segment, in contrast, is expected to hold the largest revenue share due to its easy use and handling and rapid technological advancements. However, in the case of large data reviews, computer-based devices are preferred due to the large screen.
The hospital segment holds the highest share in the e-prescribing due to the growing adoption of integrated e-prescribing solutions, rising medication errors, government support, and ongoing covid-19 pandemic. On the other hand, the office-based physician segment is projected to witness considerable growth. As per Surescript, over 3,20,000 office-based physicians currently prescribe using e-prescribing in the U.S.
North America’s e-prescribing market is spearheaded by the U.S., which generates the highest revenue on account of the increasing focus towards the abuse and fraud of controlled substances and the growing adoption of EHR solutions. As per the data released by Surescripts, the percentage of controlled substance e-prescriptions augmented from 11% in 2016 to 31% in 2018. Moreover, the percentage of prescribers enabled for electronic prescribing for controlled substances has increased from 14% in 2016 to 32% in 2018.
Additionally, the presence of established manufacturers, improved healthcare infrastructure, growing preference of physicians towards patient-centric solutions, and rising medication errors provide an impetus to the regional market growth.
Asia-Pacific’s e-prescribing market is largely driven by the reduction in adverse drug events, increasing healthcare costs, changing attitudes of healthcare professionals towards e-prescribing, and technological advancements. Also, the Department of Health and Human Services, Australia, offered grants up to USD 625,000 (excluding GST) for the implementation of the Oncology Electronic Prescribing System (EPS) across the country. Thus, government support, rise in healthcare expenditure, and the growing consumer purchasing power in Japan, Australia, China, South Korea, and India accelerate the market growth.
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