The Ministry of Health says an electronic prescription system being introduced to hospitals could save dozens of lives each year.
The ministry has signed a $17 million contract to bring the system to all 20 district health boards.
It aims to streamline procedures, eliminate illegible handwriting and reduce human error, and it's predicting the system will save more than 75 lives a year.
Health Minister Tony Ryall says the Southland District Health Board has been trialling the system and has achieved a 98% reduction in legibility and interpretation errors.
Mr Ryall says the health sector is moving into a significantly electronic, paperless environment.