Electronic prescribing (e-Prescribing) is computer software that allows a clinician to create prescriptions via a PDA, desktop computer or cell phone. The e-prescription can be printed and immediately given to the patient, or electronically transmitted directly to the patient’s pharmacy.
Safety and convenience
E-Prescribing has been shown to improve safety and convenience for patients and clinicians. Medication safety is improved through drug interaction checks for new and refill prescriptions, run automatically by the e-prescribing system. E-Prescribing systems can improve practice efficiency by reducing the time spent on practice management.
In addition, electronic prescriptions are more convenient for patients because the prescriptions can be sent directly to a pharmacy, rather than being called in, faxed or hand delivered. E-Prescribing also is more convenient for clinicians because of the ability to perform refills or create new prescriptions anywhere you have access to the internet.
Save time and money
E-prescribing with pharmacy interoperability can significantly reduce the $10,000 spent annually per physician on phone calls with pharmacies related to prescription refills, according to the Medical Group Management Association.
Prescription refill management costs $50,000 a year/per practice and that practices spend on average 4.78 to 4.92 hours/day managing refills. Government e-Prescribing pilots have found that the average time spent per day on renewals was cut in half, according to SureScripts.
Support from the Federal Government
The U.S. government in January 2009 began a program offering incentives to practices that adopt e-prescribing software as part of the “Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008.” Through this program, practices have been able to earn bonus payments for use of a qualified e-prescribing system. Beginning in 2012, practices not participating in the program will earn a 1 percent penalty.