Electronic prescribing is changing the way healthcare is delivered, and is playing an important role in our nation’s efforts to enhance the safety and quality of the prescribing process. An article in the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) newsletter, Perspective, cites statistics that illustrate just how effective e-prescribing can be in improving patient safety and the quality of healthcare.
Results of their research study show that e-prescribing reduces prescribing errors, increases efficiency, and helps save on healthcare costs. Medication errors have been reduced to as little as a seventh of their previous level, and cost savings due to improved patient outcomes and decreased patient visits are estimated to be between $140 billion and $240 billion over 10 years for healthcare organizations that implement e-prescribing.
Some Advantages and Benefits of E-prescribing:
- Patient Safety
Patient safety can be improved through e-prescribing by increasing prescription legibility, decreasing the time required to prescribe medications and dispense them to patients, and decreasing medication errors and adverse drug effects (ADEs). When e-prescribing is used, prescriptions can be quickly checked for interactions with patient medications, health conditions, and allergies.
- Efficiency of E-prescribing Increases Productivity
E-prescribing means fewer phone calls between pharmacies and physicians regarding handwriting interpretation, non-covered drugs and prior authorization requirements. The reduced time that physicians spend entering data translates into more time for patient care.
- Cost Savings Associated with E-prescribing
E-prescribing saves money. A study conducted by Surescripts estimates $140 to $240 billion in savings and improved health outcomes over a ten year period, mainly through improved medication adherence.
- Increase in Patient Medication Adherence and Patient Safety
Increased adherence to medication therapies can promote better health outcomes and reduce costs. The Surescripts’ study found a 10 percent increase in prescriptions picked up when e-prescribed compared to written scripts. Approximately 1.5 million patients are injured by preventable medication errors. Physicians who e-prescribe submit prescriptions electronically in a standard format, thus reducing costly medication errors due to illegible handwriting.
- Greater Patient Satisfaction.
For patients, e-prescribing results in a more efficient prescription process that includes expediting of filled prescriptions, fewer lost prescriptions, the elimination of multiple trips to the pharmacy and less time spent waiting for replies from physicians for refills.
- Lower Medication Costs.
Advanced e-prescribing solutions have a specific algorithm to pull the price for patient coverage and offer the best price and savings for the patient at the point-of- care. This helps physicians prescribe insurance-covered medications by accessing insurance plan information and competitive pricing options.