New Prescriptions Infrastructure in MexicoBy Jan Hogewoning | Tue, 06/04/2019 - 17:58
Q: Prescrypto is a digital platform that facilitates communication between doctors, patients and pharmacies. How is your service different from similar platforms?
A: We are 100-percent focused on prescriptions and the prescription process. We are not just an electronic patient database, an electronic health record, billing assistant or a planner that helps schedule consults. Prescrypto contains a catalog of 26,000 medications and other products that require a prescription. The most important thing for us is to establish a streamlined communication between the doctor, patient and other stakeholders, such as a pharmacies. Before us, there was no standard medication catalog in Mexico. There were documents that had information regarding medications, but they tended to be focused on clinical data or were limited to the portfolio of the particular pharmacy that created it. To build our catalog, we had to consult a wide range of sources, from institutions to the web. What is significant is that we do not have a preference between medications. We want to be a neutral platform that offers everything we find and shares data securely safekeeping the doctor’s and patient’s information.
Our platform provides two big advantages. First, it gives doctors a complete overview of different medical options. Doctors cannot memorize an entire catalog of thousands of medications and many more active molecules. Our platform provides a tool for this with up-to-date clinical drug information. The second advantage is for the patient. Our platform ensures the doctor can make a choice with exact information on the dosage and even brand of medication. This ensures that the pharmacy that receives the digital prescription will know exactly what the patient wants, avoiding switching medications at the point of sale. Medications that are switched at hospitals and pharmacies for other brands may have other dosages, side effects or poor results. Our platform attempts to mitigate this and if it does happen, we ensure it is communicated to the doctor.
Q: What role do pharmacies play in your platform?
A: Pharmacies right now interact in a limited way with our platform. We focus on one main stakeholder and two secondary parties. The former is the doctor, since Mexico is a doctor-driven market. The second stakeholder is the patient who receives the medication, while the other is the pharmacy. We have about 5,000 new patients every month, all receiving prescriptions through our platform. Pharmacies are integrated into our system only when necessary and/or if this is available. We do not require complete integration. The patient can still make use of our app to know what they are getting at the pharmacy. If the pharmacy then requires a printed prescription, the doctor can also provide that. The concept of electronic prescriptions started in 2000 in the US. Infrastructure there has developed to such an extent that around 50 percent of prescriptions are electronic in the US. Mexico is still a long way from this, which puts us in a position to play a strategic role in developing this infrastructure.
Q: What are your plans in terms of alliances with pharmacies and other medication providers?
A: We have several alliances and collaborations with companies, such as Amazon. We also have pilot projects at some pharmacies where we are combining our platform with other applications. Because the technology is relatively new in Mexico, it remains part of an interesting regulatory topic. We started in 2016, at a point when prescriptions still required a wet signature from the doctor. Now, there is a regulation that deems an electronic signature equally valid. Even so, we still ask doctors today to sign the prescription the old way. As time evolves and we continue to build the proper infrastructure, we will move on to an electronic signature.
We consider COFEPRIS an important partner and always aim to provide full transparency in our processes. The commission has approved our system through recognition of three parameters: doctor identification, safety in the channel of communication (information integrity) and avoiding double sales of a same prescription.