Benefits for Physicians
With e-prescribing, physicians and other prescribers have the potential to access clinical decision support information such as:
- Patient Medication History
- Patient Formulary and Eligibility
- Drug-Drug Interaction Alerts
- Drug-Allergy Interaction Alerts
By having more comprehensive and accurate information at the time of prescribing, the practice can improve the quality of care, potentially increase adherence, and reduce the number of call-backs from the pharmacist to clarify prescription information. If the practice and the pharmacy are both connected to the Surescripts network, the prescription renewal authorization process can be streamlined. This improves practice efficiency and the timeliness of medication delivery to the patient.
E-prescriptions arrive directly in the pharmacy's computer system so pharmacy technicians spend less time interpreting handwriting or re-keying information into their computer systems. Since the prescriber has better information available at the time of prescribing, there is a lower chance that a call-back to the practice will be needed to clarify prescription information.
Improve Practice Efficiency
A study by MGMA's Group Practice Research Network estimated that the time spent managing unnecessary administrative complexity related to prescriptions can be valued at approximately $15,700 a year for each full time physician. This figure is based on time associated with manually processing refills, resolving issues related to formulary (which specifies a patient's drug coverage) as well as issues related to dosage and legibility. It is important to note that this estimate does not take into consideration the time spent managing faxes…doing so may drive these drive these estimates even higher.* E-prescribing can reduce the amount of time your practice spends on these unnecessary activities -- which could translate into more time with patients for physicians and more efficient use of staff.
Another study conducted by Brown University in 2006 showed that the average time per day spent managing prescription refills for both physicians and staff was cut in half once the practice implemented e-prescribing.
*2004 MGMA - Analyzing cost of administrative complexity in group practice.
Improve Patient Safety
A study from the Center for Information Technology Leadership estimates that electronic prescribing, with clinical decision support, has the potential to reduce preventable adverse drug events (ADEs) by more than 60% over traditional paper based prescription writing.
E-Prescribing holds the potential to significantly improve patient safety by:
- Reducing the risk of medication errors - by eliminating reliance on handwritten paper prescriptions as well as phone- and fax-based communications between physicians and pharmacies, and by providing doctors with real-time electronic functionality that automatically checks for dangerous drug-drug and drug-allergy interactions.
- Reducing the potential for fraud or tampering - by eliminating the use of handwritten or printed prescriptions that can be altered (in terms of number of pills or refills) before reaching the pharmacist.
- Providing access to a patient's medication history - by securely aggregating and presenting patient-specific medication histories from community pharmacies and payer sources to physicians in real time at the point of care. This capability helps physicians make a more informed check for potentially harmful drug interactions.
Additional benefits to physicians
- Immediate access to economic alternatives for patients
- Eliminates errors from poor handwriting or faxing
- Reduces pharmacy callbacks
- More convenient for patients
- Less time spent on prescription renewals
- Opportunity to improve patient adherence
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CMS Electronic Prescribing Incentive Program