Physician Practice

EHRs could improve patient medication adherence but gaps in systems hinder consistency

Physician Practice Insider, April 5, 2016

EHRs and other health IT could help physicians ensure their patients take medications correctly and consistently, but significant flaws in most systems limit their usefulness, according to a paper published in the March issue of JMIR Medical Informatics.

Noncompliance with medication regimes is a common occurrence and one that comes with a significant price tag, according to the authors. While patients’ reasons for noncompliance vary, physicians could use health IT to combat the problem, they said in the paper. Electronic prescribing, making links between a diagnosis and a treatment plan, and patient portals could help patients understand and remember medications.

However, a battery of technical issues complicates the situation. The authors cite a lack of interoperability, inconsistencies in data definitions, and physician’s inability to effectively use National Drug Codes that aren’t standardized in EHRs.

Interoperable EHRs and other health IT systems would allow physicians to use consistent data definitions and data capture for medication therapy management. Improving EHR’s technical abilities will require cooperation between all stakeholders, including physicians, developers, and patients, the authors said

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