Suppliers of electronic prescribing software must improve their systems if widespread adoption by hospitals and surgeries is to be reached, according to research from Ovum.
One aspect of e-prescribing is to enable doctors to route patient prescriptions electronically to pharmacists. But the major cause of resistance to its adoption is the lack of sophisticated IT solutions available, found a report from Ovum.
Andrew Brosnan, Ovum analyst and author of the report, said: "E-prescribing not only delivers cost savings, but also improves patient care and reduces the number of prescription errors."
E-prescribing is already being used in some GP practices, but poor electronic routing systems are preventing larger take-up, said Andrew Brosnan.
"Improving the interoperability of software will enhance its perceived value to users, enabling the market as a whole to grow. Until these issues are ironed out, widespread adoption of e-prescribing is unlikely to happen," Brosnan said.
David Wrigley, a GP in Lancashire and member of the British Medical Association, said GP practices are at different stages of rolling out e-prescriptions due to varying supplier development issues.
"There has been some frustration among GPs at the length of time this has taken," Wrigley said. He agrees e-prescribing could cut costs and lead to greater efficiencies, as patients will no longer have to see doctors for repeat prescriptions. "Software suppliers should move as quickly as possible in their development," he said.