e-Prescribing Software: Top 5 Benefits for Patients

Posted by on Comments (0)

Our post last week covered the top 5 benefits of using e-Prescribing software for providers.  If you missed it, check it out here.  This week we focus on the benefits as they relate to patients.  

 

5) Patient Education Materials

Most e-Prescribing software includes drug reference information, including leaflets that can be printed and given to the patient (or electronic).  These leaflets are often available in several different languages, as well as adult and pediatric forms.  They include warnings, possible side effects, how to take the drug, and any other important information the patient needs to know about the drug.  Some products, including MDToolbox, also provide patient education information on patient conditions that can be printed and given to the patient as well.  

4) Compliance

An estimated 20% of all paper prescriptions are never filled 1.  Eliminating the need to drop off the prescription at the pharmacy and reducing wait times aid in patient compliance.  Some providers may worry that the patient may forget to pick up a prescription that was e-Sent.  However, software like MDToolbox provides an auto print out of a “Prescription Receipt” that the prescriber can hand to the patient so they remember to go pick it up, as well as which pharmacy it was e-Sent to.  The print out also includes the prescription directions so that the patient is clear on how the prescription should be taken.

3) Saves Patients Time

Using e-Prescribing software significantly reduces the time the patient has to wait at the pharmacy and in most cases, the prescriptions are ready for the patient as soon as they get to the pharmacy.  Multiple trips to the pharmacy are eliminated and time spent waiting for physicians to reply to refill requests is reduced as well.

2) Saves Patients Money

Through most e-Prescribing programs, prescribers have access to a patient’s formulary information at the time of prescribing.  This allows the prescriber to view which drugs will be covered for the patient and which ones are not.  Many times co-pay information is also available.  This way the prescriber can pick the lowest cost drug available for the patient.  A study by Decision Resources found that 75% of the doctors surveyed said when they e-Prescribe they pay more attention to the costs for their patients2.

1) Improves Patient Safety

We stated it last week, but it’s worth stating again (and again) because it is so important: e-Prescribing software greatly improves patient safety. 

Patients who see a provider who uses e-Prescribing do not have to worry about the pharmacist being able to interpret the prescriber’s handwriting.  They can be sure that the prescription the prescriber intended to write is readable in a standard, clear format by the pharmacist.  MDToolbox even uses tall man lettering, a way of distinguishing look-alike drug names, to maximize the amount of medication errors reduced. A survey by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) reported that 64% of all respondents stated that the use of tall man letters had prevented them from providing the wrong medication3.  

Through software systems like MDToolbox, prescribers can even access the patient’s medication history available from pharmacies and PBMs, so even if a patient forgets to report a medication they are currently taking, the prescriber will still have a record of it.  Having a complete, current medication list is important so prescribers can check for harmful and even possibly lethal drug interactions.  Prescribers can check against the patient’s records not only for drug-drug interactions, but also drug-allergy, drug-condition, duplicate therapy, body weight, age, and correct dosing. 

It’s clear from all of these benefits, e-Prescribing is a great tool to aid providers in giving patients the safe, affordable care they need.  

 

  1. Koroneos, George, "Hard of (Ad)hering", Pharmaceutical Executive, August 1, 2008
  2. Moore, Roy, “E-Prescribing and Electronic Health Records: Impact of Technology on Prescribing for Hypertension and Diabetes”, Decision Resources, February 2013
  3. Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) Survey on tall man lettering to reduce drug name confusion. ISMP Med Saf Alert! 2008;13(10):4.

 

 

 

e-Prescribing Software: Top 5 Benefits for Providers

Posted by on Comments (0)

As an industry leader in e-Prescribing software, it seems appropriate that our first blog post would be about why using e-Prescribing software is so important.  The team here at MDToolbox is passionate about e-Prescribing, not just because it’s a “cool” project to work on, but because it’s revolutionizing the healthcare workflow and can literally save lives.

E-prescribing, or electronic prescribing, is the method of writing and sending a prescription using an electronic device.  Instead of handwriting  a prescription on paper, the provider electronically sends the prescription to the pharmacy.  It’s as easy as sending an e-mail. While there is a plethora of reasons providers should be using e-Prescribing software, we have narrowed it down to our top 5.

 

5) Use Anywhere, Any Time, on Any Device 

Most e-Prescribing software is web-based, allowing providers to log in and prescribe from anywhere they have access to the internet, on any device (iPads, tablets, smartphones, etc.) and at any time.  Patients’ medication records and e-prescribing can be accessed wherever prescribers need it – at the office, hospital, home, even the golf course.   

4) Secure

Using e-Prescribing software offers a more secure way of prescribing medications.  A study in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association1, found that over 20% of prescribers had experienced prescription fraud in the past 6 months before the study.  These included the prescriptions being altered by the patients, counterfeited prescriptions, and stolen prescription pads.   By prescribers directly electronically sending prescriptions to pharmacies, this prescription fraud can be eliminated. 

3) Incentives/Penalties

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) created the Electronic Prescribing (eRx) Incentive Program in 2009 to encourage prescribers to use e-Prescribing software.  At that time they were giving incentive payments to eligible prescribers; however, they are now penalizing providers who do not use e-prescribing software with payment adjustments.  In 2013, the payment adjustment is 1.5% and in 2014 it will increase to 2.0%.

Meaningful Use, another CMS program, also provides incentives to providers for using certified electronic health record systems.  There are several core requirements and menu items that a provider must meet in order to attest to Meaningful Use.  Using e-Prescribing software will help meet many of these requirements.

2) Saves Time and Money   

Using e-Prescribing software allows providers and their staff to spend more time focused on patient care, and less time looking up drugs, on the phone with pharmacies, and writing out prescriptions.

 A complete drug database is available for prescriber to search.  Many e-Prescribing vendors offer several ways to search for drugs including common libraries, drug class, indication, supplies, and more.  Complete drug reference information, as well as recommended dosages is also often available.  MDToolbox even provides dosing recommendation and a dosing calculator right at the point of prescribing, so it’s easy to calculate the correct dosages. There is no need to go searching for calculators and through drug references books, everything needed for prescribing is available in one place. 

Physicians and their staff can spend hours on the phone a day responding to requests from pharmacies to clarify prescriptions, discuss formulary issues, and authorize refills.  A study by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) Center for Research, reported these calls can cost a practice almost $20,000 a year 2.  Using e-Prescribing software reduces these callbacks and allows refill requests to be responded to electronically, rather than over the phone.  Refill requests are all stored in one place and can be approved or denied within a matter of seconds.  The prescriptions sent are clear, in a standard format, and the prescriber has access to the patient’s formulary information right at the time of prescribing, reducing the need to discuss them with the pharmacy.

 Another way prescribers can save time is by using favorite lists.  These allow the prescriber to save a favorite prescription, including directions and amounts, to a list.  The prescriber can then use this list to quickly pick and prescribe from and send the prescriptions to the pharmacy within seconds.  

1) Improves Patient Safety

The number one priority for providers and for the MDToolbox Team is patient safety.  Writing prescriptions by hand causes a significant amount of errors.  A study by professor of medical informatics at Weill Cornell Medical College, Rainu Kaushal and colleagues 3, found 37 errors for every 100 paper prescriptions.  The study also found a remarkable 88 legibility errors per 100 prescriptions.  Providers using e-Prescribing software cut the number of errors down to 7 for every 100 prescriptions and completely eliminated legibility errors. 

Using e-Prescribing software not only does away with handwriting errors, it also provides necessary alerts at the time of prescribing.  Prescribers can access a patient’s medication history, verify their medications, and in turn, receive a warning if they pick a drug to prescribe that could cause a possible adverse reaction (or even death).  These include drug-drug, drug-allergy, drug-condition, and duplicate therapy alerts.  With today’s available technology, there is no excuse for the possible harm that could come from these preventable medication errors. Every prescriber should be using e-Prescribing software.  

 

1.       Thomas CP, Kim M, McDonald A, Kreiner P, Kelleher SJ Jr, Blackman MB, Kaufman PN, & Carrow GM. Prescribers' expectations and barriers to electronic prescribing of controlled substances.  J Am Med Inform Assoc 2012;19:375-381.

2.       Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) Center for Research. Analyzing the Cost of Administrative Complexity. http://www.mgma.com/about/default.aspx?id=280

3.       Kaushal R, Kern LM, Barrón Y, Quaresimo J, Abramson EL. Electronic prescribing improves medication safety in community-based office practices. J Gen Intern Med. 2010 June; 25(6): 530–536.