PHIS: The Next Logical Step of Indian Healthcare Industry

By Arti Sharma, Manager-IT, Medanta - The Medicity Hospital

Percentage share of pharmaceutical market in the Indian healthcare industry is accelerating with a new pace. The market size is estimated to grow to US$ 85 billion by 2020. Now a days, people are very sensitive towards medical safety aspects and healthcare services. In this scenario, it has become increasingly important to make sure that right medication practices are being maintained and timely assessed with an optimal level of security and quality care.

PHIS (Pharmacy Hospital Information System) is among the most extensively used clinical information systems in the world today. It is useful in both type of settings i.e. inpatient and outpatient pharmacy setups. A good PHIS makes medication dispensing and inventory control process easier and efficient. 

Within the hospital environment PHIS has two main services and functions: Medication and Pharmacy. These functions further have several purposes subsumed in them for e.g. Medication function incorporates sub-functions like Plan drug treatment, Select and Prescribe medication, Administer and Records Medication while Pharmacy function includes Procure and Stock Medication, Receive Verify and Fill the Prescription, Supply/Dispense Medicine, and also Guidance, Advice and Decision Support system. PHIS also performs real-time inventory management, interacts with other HIS (Hospital information system) modules that include Computerized physician order entry (CPOE), Laboratory information system (LIS), Billing system, Electronic health records (EHR) & Barcode functionality to provide support review of complete medical and medication appropriateness.

Need for a Pharmacy System
Most of the hospitals are still not using any pharmacy system and as a result there is neither a clinical decision support system nor any therapeutic support and inventory management control. In such case, pharmacy processes need to be controlled manually, which further increases the chances of human error and negligence.

In today's tech-enabled and tech-driven world, it’s a sine qua non to track patient prescriptions to have exact information on who prescribed what and dispensed to whom and when. Processes can be simplified if orders are passed through a well-organized and efficient pharmacy system.

Need for an advanced Medication System
The whole process of Medication should be well coordinated and timely communicated among concerned users like Physician, Pharmacist and Nurses. Orders should be properly screened, modified and dispensed by the pharmacist. 
An advanced hospital information system helps in reducing adverse reactions of the drugs and in safeguarding Patients’ drug consumption. Prescriptions can be made as standing orders and can continue as active until they have not been put on hold or discontinued from patient profile so as to encourage evaluation of the already prescribed medicine.

Need for a Bar Code Administration
It has been observed from past findings that implementation of Bar Code Medication Administration (BCMA) can reduce medication errors up to 80 percent, besides improving the extensiveness of the medication administration history. Though, identification of barcode at the time of medicine administration is a disruptive process and because of this pharmacist find ways to avoid scanning barcodes.

Moreover, Indian Government is also taking initiatives to make the whole clinical process safer & cost effective in order to minimize pilferage of the medicines, plug communication gap between Physician and Nurses and stop medication errors. Government is aiming on speedy implementation of information system into the PHC (Primary health centers) and CHC (Community health centers) hospital settings. 

Use of mobile phones and tablets is pervasive nowadays in the society. Some clinical setups are using hand held devices to intimate medication staff for system generated alerts, this allows user to take prompt action on clinical condition and drugs errors recorded against the patients. Vendors have developed mobile applications for specific modules of HIS like EHR (Electronic health record) and PHIS (Pharmacy hospital information system) for better medication adherence support & disease monitoring. These apps will help in minimizing the occurrence of dispensing errors, improve the promptness and efficiency of the dispensing practice, and optimize use of space at prescribing and dispensing locations.

A range of Pharmacy Information systems and technologies are available to support and make the full medication process of medicine ordering, supply and dispensing smooth. However, healthcare providers will need to safeguard that they harness technologies in a way that will improve patient safety, assist professionals to offer high quality patient-centered services. Hence if healthcare industry in India is to take the next leap, Pharmaceutical Healthcare Information Systems will be the stepping stone. 

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