Physician E-Prescribing on the Increase
June 5, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Many of us who have received a handwritten prescription from our physician may refer to doctor’s writing as “chicken scratch”. Sloppy or indiscernible handwritten prescription instructions can lead to errors, misunderstandings, filling delays, or worse — adverse drug events.
However, studies reveal that errors occur less frequently when a doctor e-prescribes a medication. E-prescribing is a method that consists of a physician selecting medications, doses, and instructions from an onscreen list, and sends the prescription information using a computer electronically to the pharmacy.
The latest data shows that over a third of our country’s prescriptions are now electronic, revealing the trend that physicians are increasing ditching the square prescription pad for the computer.
The government is supporting the push for physicians to e-prescribe, partly because it is safer for patients. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians don’t have to deal with messy handwriting. Additionally, a computer can quickly let a doctor know if a new drug will interact adversely with an existing drug a patient is taking.
Not only does e-prescribing help reduce prescribing errors, but it can help cut down costs. Medicare, for example, is reducing payments in certain circumstances for physicians who rely solely on paper prescriptions.
A study conducted in 2010 led by Rainu Kaushal, medical informatics professor at Weill Cornell Medical College found a alarming 37 errors for every 100 prescriptions prepared in paper form. This compares to 7 errors per 100 for those who used software for e-prescribing.
All-in-all, e-prescribing is become popular fast. Just in 2011 alone, its use is estimated to have grown by 75 percent. And in all likelihood, we can expect it to continue to grow.
Pharmacy Headquarters Blog (PharmacyHeadquarters.com) Editorial Staff Copyright 2012 – All rights reserved