Many people are so used to the paper form of prescribing that they are somewhat reluctant to switching to electronic systems. To help spur the change this article lays out some of the great benefits to e-prescribing such as accuracy, insurance compatibility, no lost prescriptions, and time efficiency.
Since the shift from paper to electronic systems began, many people have found it difficult to make this transition. Electronic systems require extensive coordination and communication, particularly between providers and pharmacies. A primary care doctor and professor at University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine, John Henning Schumann, recently wrote an article detailing his opinions regarding the many benefits of e-prescriptions.
There are many advantages to e-prescribing:
- Accuracy: The electronic system reinforces prescription accuracy. It enables physicians to select the appropriate drug and dosage, along with vital information about which medications can or should not be combined.
- Insurance compatibility: With the Affordable Care Act going into effect, the number of people with healthcare coverage has greatly increased. By referencing their patient’s insurance information in the system, physicians are able to prescribe those medications that are covered under insurance plans and most affordable.
- No lost prescriptions: According to Dr. Schumann, approximately 1 in 4 prescriptions are lost. The use of e-prescriptions effectively eliminates this worry.
- Prescriptions are filled: One of the largest benefits is the 10% decline in unfilled prescriptions. The prescriptions are directly sent from provider to pharmacy and are immediately taken care of.
- Legibility: Though the bad handwriting of doctors is a stereotypical characteristic, electronic prescriptions are clearly legible, leaving no doubts as to the correct medication and dosage information.
- Time Efficiency: E-prescribing can also save time for patients since prescriptions are immediately transferred to the pharmacy and filled.
Surescripts operates one of the largest e-prescribing networks in the country. They have created a secure system that allows information to be safely transmitted from one end of the nation to the other. The network is compatible with over 600 EMR systems and is thus able to include almost all hospitals and practices, regardless of the system they’re using. Surescripts doesn’t charge doctors or patients for the transactions, which is an additional advantage. Data released by Surescripts in May 2012 estimates 317,000 office-based physicians using e-prescribing for their practices.
Author: Apoorva Anupindi