Data and healthcare: Why the industry is moving to e-prescribing

Data Science   |   
Published October 6, 2020   |   

When doctors prescribe medication, they usually grab a paper pad, write the drug prescription, hand the paper to the patient, and instruct him/her to buy the medicine at the pharmacy.
Times, however, have changed.
Thanks to advancements in technology, physicians can now prescribe medications digitally. Electronic prescribing, also known as e-prescribing, is the process of transmitting prescription information and medication orders to pharmacies through the use of electronic health record (EHR) software.
Electronic prescribing has grown exponentially over the past years. According to a report from Becker’s Hospital Review, a leading hospital magazine, e-prescribing skyrocketed over 500 percent. Health care providers sent a whopping 77.33 million prescriptions to pharmacies in 2017 — up from 12.8 prescriptions in 2015.
If your health care practice is still following the pen-and-paper approach to prescribing medications, you’re missing out on the benefits of e-prescribing. Here’s how transitioning to a cloud-based prescription management software can be advantageous to your private practice:

Makes the Health Care Process More Convenient for Patients

Patients who get prescriptions the old-fashioned way have to drive to the nearest local pharmacy, hand the paper prescription over to the pharmacist and wait for the clerk to fill the prescription. If the patient is living in an area that has a large elderly population, he/she could expect a long queue at the pharmacy. Overall, this traditional process is both time-consuming and frustrating for the patient.
When you give electronic prescribing as an option for your patients, they won’t have to endure the possibly long wait times at the pharmacy. Before your patient leaves your private practice, one of your health care employees can transmit the doctor’s prescription to your designated pharmacy. This gives the drug store ample time to fill the order while the patient is traveling to your chosen location.

Automates Clinical Decision Support

Some medications on the pharmacy shelf are available in a range of forms and dosages. Making your prescriptions digital takes out the guesswork by prompting doctors to fill out pertinent information, such as dose, frequency, route, and quantity.

Minimizes Preventable Medical Errors

Preventable medical mistakes, such as errors in patient dosage, can claim lives. A study from the AHIMA foundation revealed that many of these dosing errors happen in the prescription chain. Illegible or unreadable doctor’s handwriting could result in a range of problems, including:

  • Incorrect dispensing of medication
  • Inaccurate dosage
  • Adverse reactions caused by the wrong type of medication

With electronic prescribing, you won’t have to worry about the pharmacist misreading your prescription. The pharmaceutical staff can check the prescriptions you’ve transmitted using a cloud-based platform.

Decreases Callbacks from Pharmacies

Answering unnecessary calls decreases office efficiency and burdens your administrative medical staff. E-prescribing gets rid of this problem. By sending the prescriptions electronically, pharmacists rarely have to call your practice to verify medication details.
With e-prescribing, both parties benefit. Health care practices won’t have to constantly entertain unnecessary calls. Also, pharmacies can cut wait times, as they no longer have to contact your practice over the phone to clarify information.

Reduces Instances of Contraindications

Electronic prescribing lets you create alerts informing you about the possible contraindications of prescribed medication or controlled drugs. With electronic prescribing, you help patients avoid taking a combination of drugs that could be harmful (or life-threatening) to his/her health.

Cuts the Risk of Hospital Readmissions

Adverse drug events could cause hospital readmissions in patients. Medical practices can reduce this incident by using e-prescribing programs. Some platforms have safety features, such as allergy notifications and drug therapy warnings, to reduce the likelihood of an adverse drug event.

Tracks Prescription Fulfillments Easily

Unless you proactively check in on the patient, your health care practice can’t track prescription fulfillment effectively when a patient leaves with a handwritten RX. With electronic prescribing, you could track and determine if your patients are going to the pharmacy to fill their prescriptions. This gives your private practice the opportunity to counsel patients on taking medications and following the advice of their doctor.

Decreases the Incidence of Lost Prescriptions

Patients can easily misplace prescriptions written on a small piece of paper. As a result, physician practices have to rewrite the prescription on another sheet of paper. With e-prescribing, your practice could send the RX directly to the pharmacy.

Prescribes Medications Covered by Insurance Easily

Not all patients can afford to purchase the medicines prescribed by their health care professional. As a result, they are less likely to comply with the treatment provided by their doctor.
The good news is that some electronic prescribing programs allow health care providers to select generic medications likely covered by the patient’s insurance. When the patient doesn’t have to spend a fortune on medications, they are more inclined to comply with the required treatment.
These nine powerful benefits of electronic prescribing should convince you to ditch paper-based prescriptions and transition right away to issuing medications digitally. If you’re looking to make your health care practice more efficient, e-prescribing is the way to go, as you eliminate the time-consuming tasks of writing out, calling, and faxing prescriptions.