Technology has the potential to provide many benefits in medicine, and nowhere is that more apparent than in medication ePrescribing. There are many reasons providers and hospital systems have switched to systems that allow them to electronically submit prescriptions to pharmacies, but the most compelling one is safety and health for patients. If you haven’t implemented e-prescribing in your practice yet, here are some reasons you should.
Reduce Medication Errors
Medication errors, according to the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention are “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the healthcare professional, patient, or consumer.” That includes errors that occur as a result of patients getting the incorrect prescription, or a dangerous medication interaction.
When you use paper prescriptions, you may inadvertently cause medication errors with illegible handwriting, wrong dosage, or other information the pharmacy uses to fill it. These errors could lead to significant patient harm if the end result is a patient getting the wrong prescription, or the wrong dosage. The most common adverse events reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch program as a result of medication errors include:
- Life-threatening medical complications
- Birth defects
Using ePrescribing through an EHR can significantly reduce the chance of errors from illegible handwriting or incorrect information entered into a computer from a written prescription. It also helps providers keep medication lists updated and reconcile medications at each visit so you can spot and avoid potential medication interactions.
Reduce Prescription Fraud and “Doctor Shopping”
In the age of opioid abuse, prescription fraud is a serious concern. Paper prescription pads can be stolen, allowing patients to forge a prescription for painkillers or other controlled substances. Not only is this dangerous for a patient, but it could also put your practice at risk. ePrescribing portals often have built-in protections for you to check state databases and report whenever you write a prescription for a controlled substance, helping to spot patients who are “doctor shopping.”
Improve Patient Medication Adherence
ePrescribing can also improve the chances that your patients take medications as prescribed, because you can send the information directly to the pharmacy. It eliminates the chance that a patient loses the prescription or never takes it to get filled. About 50% of patients don’t take medication as prescribed, which increases the chance for hospital admission and other adverse health effects. Anything providers can do to make it easier can improve patient health overall.
ePrescribing is a safe and easy alternative to paper prescriptions that keeps patients healthy and helps providers and patients appropriately manage health conditions. If you’re not e-prescribing yet, talk to AdvancedMD about how easy it can be to integrate with your EHR.