It is almost certain that when we talk about innovation in the healthcare sector, we are talking about medical technology. But, there are many other technological aspects on the sidelines that support the growth and advancement required to push the industry into the future. Since their advent, ePrescriptions have been a powerful tool in streamlining the doctor/patient relationship. The ability to send a prescription to the patient’s preferred pharmacist has been an important thread in the tapestry of EHRs for quite a while now.
Back in March, New York state Governor Andrew M. Cuomo amended the Public Health Law and Education Law to include an extension to mandatory implementation of electronic prescribing by March 2016, which means that providers that are not currently using EHR software will have to find some kind of electronic solution for filling out prescriptions. This has sweeping implications for the industry as we are seeing more and more legislation being passed in favor of compulsory integration of EMRs and a demand for e-prescribing.
Now that the electronic prescription of controlled substances is legal in all fifty states, we can expect to see a rise in the momentum of e-prescription adoption. The percentage of pharmacies in the United States with systems in place to accept electronic prescriptions of controlled substances rose 17% from June of 2012 to to December of 2013. Yet only 1% of prescribers were prepared to write e-scripts in December of 2013, according to a study done by the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy and the Toledo College of Pharmacy.
The study’s authors had this comment on the disparity between pharmacists and physicians:
“There is not enough perceived incentive for providers to adopt (e-prescribing for controlled substances), while authentication and registration process may be viewed as ‘additional work.’ In contrast, the business case for adoption is stronger among pharmacies; if they do not keep up with competition, they may lose business, and so they tend to adopt more quickly than providers.”
In all sectors of the medical industry, the need for electronic health recording systems and electronic prescriptions are on the rise. Just one year after the study was published, e-prescribing of controlled substances rose by a whopping 400%. But, what are we doing to push this forward? How can we, as an industry, take this even further?
In the ongoing effort to meet the demands of the market, PrognoCIS has updated our eToken to a new more secure platform: a USB device that no longer has to be plugged in or restricted to Windows OS and the Internet Explorer web browser. We now have full Mac integration along with additional support for Google Chrome and Safari.
The eToken works, essentially, as a signature – each device is registered to a doctor. A random number is generated by the eToken and verified in-house through our provisioned verification process on its way to the pharmacist. This condenses time spent on the patient’s end, as it cuts out the whole step of having to bring the prescription in manually, and then, of course, waiting for it to be filled.
It also enhances the visibility of prescription error, meaning pharmacy software is more likely to detect any clerical mistakes and ensure that the right drug is being dispersed in the right dosage. Which in turn, improves quality of care and causes a reduction in malpractice claims – prescription errors are the largest source of preventable errors in the hospital.
With PrognoCIS’s new eToken and the integration of controlled substances via electronic prescribing, the HIT community has taken another vital step toward full interoperability, while streamlining physician work flow and reducing dependence on paper.
Author: Cory Clark