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The Benefits of E-prescribing
Posted on March 12, 2012
Replacing easily misplaced paper prescriptions, e-prescribing has simplified the process of getting prescriptions filled and refilled. Through the same EHR software healthcare professionals use to save and input patient data, clinicians have the option to print an Rx to paper or to send it electronically, hence the name eRx (electronic prescription). Since e-prescribing is one of the core objectives for meaningful use attestation, doctors are increasingly using this method instead of faxing or handing out paper prescriptions.
Healthcare professionals reap the benefits of e-prescribing in the form of incentive payments, but patients benefit from its use as well. As a patient, you should be aware of the advantages of e-prescribing and how they affect you.
By sending prescriptions electronically, clinicians are taking out the middle man and ensuring that the Rx makes it to the pharmacy. Surprisingly, this first step is very often not completed, since patients either lose prescriptions or don’t want to go through the trouble of waiting in line at the pharmacy. Using this method, an e-Rx can be sent out while you sit in the exam room. This means all you have to do is drive to the pharmacy to pick it up.
Additionally, when you need a prescription refilled, all you have to do is call the pharmacy which will then submit an electronic refill request to your healthcare professional. Since the patient history in your healthcare provider’s EMR system includes all your past and current medications, your doctor is able make an informed decision and can approve, deny, or make changes to the submitted refill request with the click of a button.
Most importantly, electronic prescription submissions protect patients from potentially fatal errors. Clinicians filling out e-Rx’s have access to a drug database which includes correct medication dosages. Meanwhile, EMR systems also warn doctors of possible drug and allergy interactions. Add this to the fact that pharmacists don’t have to guess what a doctor has scribbled on a paper prescription, and the odds of mistakes being made drops significantly.