Prescribing and Dispensing Medications within Correctional Environments: The Role of Health Information Technology

COCHSThis issue paper from the Community Oriented Correctional Health Services describes how medications are prescribed and dispensed in a criminal justice system setting and outlines the ways in which multiple technologies and multiple stakeholders must cooperate to build out systems unique to their environments. Examples from various correctional institutions are used to show how health information technology (health IT) assists in the ordering, delivering, and dispensing of medication. Also discussed is how electronic health record vendors, pharmaceutical distributors, and related technical solution providers respond to the complex multiple needs of correctional institutions, sometimes going beyond their core product line. Combining industry examples with correctional institutional implementations, the reader will see that what might appear to be a straightforward process of prescribing and dispensing medications involves correctional institutions in a multistep and multistakeholder process that is becoming more and more reliant on health IT to meet the healthcare needs of incarcerated people.