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Prescription Confusion? Technology to the Rescue

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, January 20, 2000

High tech help for prescription confusion. I'm Fred Fishkin with Bootcamp, a report on computers and technology. It's an age old problem...and one that according to news reports not too long ago...costs thousands of lives. Doctors writing prescriptions that leave pharmacists guessing. There are a number of companies working on solutions. One of them, MDPad, is creating handheld computers with built in printers that it plans to distribute to doctors for free. The inventor is a physician who has also studied bio-medical engineering. Dr. Punkaj Murchia...says he has seen the problem....and spoken with frustrated pharmacists....

"The way we solve this is by providing physicians a simple way of providing physicians a simple way of writing a prescription. It's got to be simple. It's very quick. It's on a Windows CE handheld with a color screen and a built in printer. So a doctor, with a mere three taps on a screen can actually print out a prescription and hand it to the patient.

The company plans to begin distribution of the devices by the end of next month and doctors can sign up on the web at MDPad.com. How simple is it to use?

"Selected the patient...I went to the refill manager....check, check, check...these are the meds I want. Print. I just printed out five prescriptions."

Besides curing the handwriting problem, the handheld computers will store patient information and a drug database that can be easily updated online. Pharmaceutical companies and medical institutions are paying for the program.