Prior to mid-November, the only municipalities issuing ePrescriptions in Norway were those of Hordaland county (Southwest Norway) with one exception, namely Larvik municipality in Vestfold county (Southeast Norway). Now more municipalities of Vestfold county - TÃ¸nsberg, Sandefjord, Horten, Re, TjÃ¸me, Stokke, NÃ¸tterÃ¸y and Andebu - have adopted ePrescriptions.
Overall, 143 medical practices, 60 pharmacies and nine medical supply outlets use electronic prescriptions on a daily basis. More than 300 000 prescriptions have been issued by doctors since their introduction in spring 2010.
Best practices from ePrescription implementation in Hordaland show that it has been a success to date. According to the Minister for Health and Care Services, Anne-Grete StrÃ¸m-Erichsen, 31 municipalities in Hordaland have adopted the scheme. The municipality of Larvik in Vestfold county participated in the second pilot phase of the ePrescription programme, which is responsible for establishing a national, fully electronic information chain for prescription drugs and medical supplies in Norway. It has been employing the system for one year.
As part of the ePrescription programme, a personalised web service named 'My prescriptions' (Mine resepter, in Norwegian) gives users a good overview of their valid ePrescriptions.
ePrescriptions provide safer procedures and increased patient safety, and it expected that they will eliminate the practice of false prescriptions, which is a growing social problem. It becomes significantly more difficult to forge a prescription that is sent electronically. Ms StrÃ¸m-Erichsen said that ePrescriptions also reduce the risk of medication errors as doctors are provided with an overview of a patient's medication history.
The Health Directorate of the Ministry of Health and Care Services is responsible for managing the national implementation process of ePresciptions, with the objective of a nationwide use of in 2013. The scheme will be introduced in primary care and specialist practices, medical clinics, and in all pharmacies.