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Evidence Based Guidelines for Nursing and Social Care on eHealth Services: ePrescribing

‘Diversity is strength’ and ENS4Care presents partners within the 28 European Union member states with an opportunity to capitalise on different approaches used in other countries in relation to nurse ePrescribing. Where possible our goal is to share knowledge and exchange information thus avoiding ‘wheel reinvention’ by adopting and adapting best practices. The potential exists for nurse and social workers to build strong partnerships, develop capacity and begin to consider ways in which to create a platform that cannot only shape and inform future generations of nurse practitioners, but present opportunities to impact on organisational workforce, which as recent evidence suggests can have a direct bearing on patient-centred outcomes (Aiken et al, 2014).

The current document presents evidence-based guidelines to inform policy-makers, health professionals, social workers, citizens and industry in the design and deployment of eHealth services at local, regional, national and EU level based on identified best practice examples collected through the ENS4Care thematic network from countries across the EU. This guideline builds on the work of the ENS4Care network work stream ‘nurse ePrescribing’ and is concerned with eHealth services to support nurse ePrescribing in primary or secondary health and social care settings.

Nurse ePrescribing is a pathway with different gateways, which users must navigate through in order to achieve effective project deliverables. In this document, core concepts are defined as they relate to ePrescribing and three key critical factors are identified which should be borne in mind in the initial stages of planning for nurse ePrescribing: jurisdictional factors and prescriptive authorities; informatics infrastructure and platform; and, competency in clinical decision making.

The overarching purpose of this guideline is to describe how and where nurse leaders and policy makers (who are the principle intended audience of this guideline) should begin to gain a comprehensive overview of the key processes related to nurse ePrescribing. Information is presented from three differing perspectives – organisational or enterprise view, clinical view (using a patient case study), and informatics view – in order to demonstrate a roadmap that highlights the point that all phases of development need to be considered collectively and sequentially rather than in an ad hoc way.

Given the diverse organisational and professional challenges that nurse ePrescribing is currently presented with, this guideline provides insights not only from current online resources but also includes a purposefully created set of case studies, the aim of which is to demonstrate the flow of information and associated care processes within nurse ePrescribing. It is a useful resource for professionals, citizens and policy makers alike.