Clanwilliam Health has joined forces with the HSE’s eHealth Ireland programme in launching a war on dot matrix printers. Ireland’s GPs currently rely on dot matrix printers – inefficient 30-year-old technology – for General Medical Services Scheme (GMS) prescriptions.dotmatrix

Removing dot matrix printers like the one above from GP surgeries is an important component in bringing ePrescribing to community pharmacies across Ireland. eHealth Ireland has articulated a vision whereby the paper prescription given to the patient by the GP could be validated against an electronic copy within the pharmacy using a barcode or prescription ID.

eHealth Ireland is working with Clanwilliam Health and other providers in the healthcare IT market to introduce a new single page GMS script format which can be printed using a modern laser printer.

Richard Corbridge, CIO, HSE and CEO of eHealth Ireland, said: “We are delighted that Clanwilliam is joining us in launching a war on dot matrix printers. Today the vast majority of GP surgeries in Ireland have two or more printers for prescriptions – a laser printer for private prescriptions and dot matrix printers for GMS prescriptions. Aside from being large and noisy, dot matrix printers are costly to maintain and verging on obsolete making it difficult for them to be supported.

“The vision of eHealth Ireland goes beyond simply removing the dot matrix printers. ePrescribing is something which has been delivered in many countries around the world and we believe that the clinicians and patients of Ireland stand to benefit from its implementation. A paper prescription is a legal requirement in this country, the solution we are working towards allows for the patient to receive a printed script which includes a barcode. Upon arriving at the community pharmacy of their choice, this code will be scanned and the ePrescription will be retrieved from a secure virtual ‘health vault.’ We envision that this system will begin a phased deployment nationally and has a target to be completed by the end of 2017. We look forward to working with Clanwilliam and other technology providers to make it a reality.”

Eileen Byrne, Managing Director, Clanwilliam Health, said: “Clanwilliam is delighted to be allied with eHealth Ireland in supporting their war on dot matrix printers in the primary care settings and to be working together to innovate towards ePrescribing. There is a recognition among Ireland’s GP and pharmacy communities that the current old dot matrix printer technology is incredibly outdated. Patients and health professionals stand to benefit from a modernised system, where the paper prescription can be validated against an electronic record pulled down at the point of dispensing.”

This initiative is one of several now being designed as a collaboration between eHealth Ireland and Clanwilliam Health. In 2017 the delivery of technology to GP practices that can support the GP’s part in the delivery of integrated care is a priority for the eHealth Ireland programme. These initiatives include the availability of the Individual Health Identifier, eDischarge notes, and the opportunity for GPs to make use of the Health Cloud put in place by eHealth Ireland.

More information about eHealth Ireland is available at www.ehealthireland.ie, and about Clanwilliam Health at www.clanwilliamhealth.com.

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