Making ePrescribing Pay Off

  January 26, 2012       By Ray Atia
E-Prescribing is a method of sending prescriptions where the prescriber electronically sends a prescription to the pharmacy from the point of care directly without involving the patient. It is a retail EDI that enables the pharmacy to perform its operations easily and conveniently. This method is an improvement to the services of medical care providers since it will improve the quality of patient care. It does this by allowing the prescriber to transmit an accurate, understandable and error free prescription to the pharmacy. On average, in the United States alone, approximately 7000 deaths occur each year as a result of medication errors. The errors can be said to be as a result of illegible hand writings, wrong dosages or drug allergy reactions. At times, when a patient goes to a pharmacy and finds that the prescribed medicine is out of stock, they may consider asking the pharmacist for an alternative that has the same effect. The pharmacist may sell the drug, only to realize later that the patient had an allergy to the drug that was used as an alternative. E-Prescribing ensures that cases like these are minimal since the prescription is sent with a specific drug, and the prescriber will check to ensure that the specific drug is available before sending the patient to the store. This reduces the hustle that the patient goes through in purchasing the drugs since they will not call pharmacies checking if the drug is in stock. It also ensures that the prescriber has access to the patients medical history and a list of available medicine at the time of prescription. This ensures that any cases of drug inappropriateness are detected and avoided early. These systems have the ability of managing the whole medication process through Drug Utilization Review programs, popularly known as DUR programs. These programs will check the patients medications to see if there is any aspect that can produce unfavorable effects. This method of prescribing also allows reporting ability. This is not possible in a paper based prescription system. This enables sound decision making for the pharmacist since it will be easy to know the number of patients that needed a specific drug, the frequency of medication prescribed by certain medical stores and other categories. This is retail EDI that will provide the pharmacy with most of the information required easily and conveniently. It cannot be used as manufacturers EDI because it only works for single, random requests.