One question we’re seeing over and over again from prospects inquiring about our services is “Do you offer e-prescribing?”

The answer is an emphatic “yes.”

First of all, what is e-prescribing?

E-prescribing provides the ability to electronically prescribe medications to a pharmacy either through an electronically secure hub if the pharmacy can accept the transmitted data, or via electronic fax for those pharmacies unable to accept electronic submission.

The technology is gaining traction among healthcare providers. More than 300 million e-prescriptions were written in 2010, according to industry experts. That means one out of every three office-based physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants in the U.S. use e-prescribing at least once a month.

The e-prescribing application built within our Electronic Medical Record (EMR) benefits everyone involved in our Medical Home@Work model: patients, clinicians, physician networks, payers, and pharmacies.

Here’s how:

Increased Safety

Each year, approximately 1.5 million patients are injured by preventable medication errors, according to the Institute of Medicine. Clinicians who e-prescribe submit prescriptions electronically in a standard format, which reduces the need to interpret handwriting and minimizes costly medication errors. Our e-prescribing application also provides full drug utilization review (DUR) checking for proper medication dosage, allergy/adverse reactions, duplicative therapy, and drug interactions.

Increased Productivity

E-prescribing means fewer phone calls between pharmacies and physicians to discuss non-covered drugs and prior authorization requirements. The application has a function that checks the patient’s Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) formulary, which guides the clinician to prescribe medications within the individual’s health insurance plan. Prescriptions received electronically, whether new or refill requests, also reduce the time pharmacy personnel and physicians spend entering data. Both benefits translate into more time for patient care.

Greater Patient Satisfaction

For patients, e-prescribing results in a more efficient prescription process. New prescriptions are ready upon patient arrival at the pharmacy, which reduces time spent waiting for replies from clinicians for refills or questions.

Lower Medication Costs

E-prescribing further increases patient satisfaction by allowing clinicians to better manage patient medication costs. Clinicians know immediately if a medication is covered by a patient’s insurance plan. The application also provides recommended formulary alternatives if a medication is not covered on an individual’s plan As a result, patients experience reduced out-of-pocket costs.

Greater Patient Compliance

The hassle of dropping off a prescription and waiting for it to be filled is one of the predominant reasons that an estimated 20% of all paper prescriptions go unfilled, according to the American Medical Association. Electronic prescriptions sent directly to the pharmacy result in greater patient compliance. Research indicates that clinicians who begin e-prescribing generally see an 11 percent jump in the number of prescriptions they dispense.

Improved Health Outcomes

Yet another benefit to e-prescribing is better patient health outcomes. Not only does e-prescribing improve quality and efficiency, it also reduces costs by ensuring appropriate drug usage.

You can see why we’re firm believers in e-prescribing. Lower costs, better compliance, better outcomes—just a few of the reasons our EMR has e-prescribing built in. We can’t imagine operating our health centers any other way.

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