In a recent AMA Wire e-Newsletter, the AMA outlined their efforts to eliminate the barriers to implementing electronic prescriptions of controlled substances. The association said the problem remains a significant and perplexing burden for physicians. The AMA vowed to continue to advocate before relevant federal and state agencies and legislative bodies for elimination of cumbersome, confusing and burdensome requirements relating to electronic transmission of physicians’ controlled substance prescriptions to pharmacies.
Commonly known as electronic prescribing for controlled substances, which includes Schedules II, II, IV and V drugs, the current guidelines for these schedules do not reduce the amount of administrative paperwork for physicians. Instead, the guidelines add to their current workload, which defeats the purpose of electronic handling of prescriptions.
The AMA House of Delegates also modified policy to continue to work with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and states to remove or reduce barriers associated with both controlled substances and non-scheduled prescription drugs. That would include the removal of the Medicaid requirement in all states that physicians write these prescriptions by hand on paper forms.
The AMA said it will also work with the largest and nearly exclusive national electronic pharmacy network, all related pharmacy regulators and with federal and private entities to ensure universal acceptance by pharmacies of electronically transmitted prescriptions. Additionally, the AMA will advocate appropriate financial and other incentives to encourage physician adoption of e-prescriptions.
eazyScripts supports all of the AMA’s efforts to remove any barriers that make e-prescribing more challenging for physicians. The advantages of e-prescribing are numerous:
- Prevents prescription drug errors -- e-Prescribing eliminates handwriting errors/illegibility and gives both physician and pharmacist access to a patient’s prescription history to reduce the chance of the wrong drug being dispensed.
- Speeds up the medication reconciliation process -- clinicians can instantly view a patient’s medication history and won’t have to manually reconcile medication lists or commit clinical information to memory, such as drug-drug interactions.
- Instant notification of allergies, drug interactions, duplicate therapies and other clinical alerts -- e-Prescribing gives physicians full visibility into all of a patient’s documented allergies and previously prescribed drugs and will trigger clinical alerts if a newly prescribed drug has any potential for negative reactions.
- Monitor controlled substances abuse -- enables physicians to electronically prescribe and monitor controlled substances in a single workflow. With e-prescribing, physicians can track how many controlled substance prescriptions a patient has received, reducing the likelihood of over-prescribing or doctor shopping.
- Reduces the risk of readmissions --Built-in safety features such as clinical alerts and duplicate therapy alerts reduce the risk of adverse drug reactions. Roughly 20 percent of all hospital readmissions can be traced to adverse drug reactions.
- Improves medication adherence -- Chronic underuse of medications is the most common form of non-adherence, with patients using a lower dose than was prescribed or prematurely stopping therapy.
- Makes it easier to verify insurance -- E-Prescribing tools make it easier to choose formulary medications that will be covered by the patient’s drug benefit. Prescribing a drug the patient can afford makes it more likely that the patient will fill it and take it.
It’s just common sense that any barriers to all of these e-prescribing benefits should be eliminated.