Electronic prescribing, or e-prescribing, is hardly a new concept. But it is growing rapidly — and for good reason. Utilizing e-prescribing comes with a bounty of benefits for care teams, patients, and pharmacists alike.
The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act (MMA) was passed in 2003, which afforded Medicare patients better accessibility to prescription drugs and a more seamless prescribing process. This legislation also helped e-prescribing become a more commonplace practice.
According to Perspectives in Health Information Management, sending a prescription electronically has significantly reduced prescribing errors and healthcare costs. This study suggests that adopting e-prescribing has led to estimated savings of up to $240 billion over ten years. The reduced healthcare costs are due to improved patient outcomes and a reduction in patient visits, which are directly linked to e-prescribing.
What is e-prescribing?
Simply put, e-prescribing sends a patient’s prescription electronically, directly to the pharmacy. Clinicians can do this easily and securely on a computer or tablet through a software system.
It significantly enhances the quality of patient care, eliminates errors, and reduces the need for pharmacies or patients to call providers for further clarity. The days of deciphering a clinician’s handwriting or misplacing the prescription slip are long gone. E-prescribing allows for accurate and timely prescription processing, ensuring patients receive the medication they need quickly and with little frustration. It is safe, secure, and more efficient than physically bringing a piece of paper to a pharmacy and hoping they can fill the prescription.
Benefits of electronic prescribing
E-prescribing comes with a host of benefits for patients and their providers. It is generally a more convenient way of filling a prescription, but it also vastly benefits a patient’s quality and cost of care.
Remember the days when we had to bring a physical piece of paper to the pharmacy with our prescription scrawled across the slip, hand it to a pharmacist, hope they have the medication in stock, and wait in line for the pharmacist to fill the prescription? While it wasn’t on par with waiting at the DMV, it still had its frustrations. E-prescribing cuts this step out of the process, saving time and effort — an invaluable factor when one is sick. It also eliminates the need to act as a middleman between the pharmacist and care team, as the entire process takes place electronically and directly through a secure system.
Improves health equity
Having access to a prescription is the right of every patient. Patients with disabilities, chronic conditions, and other severe health concerns should have the same access and standard of care as any other patient. E-prescribing improves health equity by ensuring patients have their prescription refills available as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Decreases prescription and medication errors
A study by Perspectives in Health Information Management found that there are approximately 200,000 deaths each year in the United States due to preventable medical errors such as medication prescribing and filling. Prescribing electronically ensures a pharmacist will not misread the prescription, thus decreasing the error in medication filling. One misread number or letter on a handwritten prescription can have detrimental — even deadly — effects on a patient’s health.
E-prescribing eliminates the need to physically write and track prescriptions or manually update a patient’s chart with the new prescription. Since everything is transmitted and stored electronically, it is much easier to track, manage, and review a patient’s medication history.
Improves patient safety
Prescribing electronically not only decreases the chances of prescription errors but also enhances patient safety. E-prescribing achieves this outcome by giving providers a 360 view of a patient’s current medications and conditions to quickly check if any medications have negative interactions or if the patient has any allergies to the medication.
The ability to substitute for generic medications electronically and rapidly greatly benefits patients and the healthcare system. E-prescribing boasts an increase in patient medication adherence, which results in lower costs for the patient and healthcare system, as well as better patient health outcomes.
Government support for electronic prescribing
Drug safety, especially controlled substances, is a critical issue for the United States government. Electronic prescribing for controlled substances (EPCS) improves fraud deterrence, medication adherence, and patient safety. The Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act (SUPPORT Act) was passed in 2018 to address the country’s rampant opioid crisis. It requires that all clinicians prescribe Medicare Part D Schedule II-V controlled substances electronically.
EPCS for Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage prescription plans will be enforced on January 1, 2023. These mandates will require providers to prescribe controlled substances electronically and to register with the DEA under DEA Title 21, Chapter II.
Electronic prescribing will become a required practice eventually, and providers will need to begin implementing some level of e-prescribing sooner than later. The government’s push for e-prescribing will help providers and care teams keep their patients’ safety and health at the forefront with every prescription.
How does e-prescribing work with a Care Management system?
A Care Management platform allows for streamlined, automated, and secure patient data management. It keeps all care teams on the same page while reducing the burden of administrative work. It improves the patient-provider relationship and experience by housing all patient health data in one central location. By doing so, any care team can quickly get a holistic view of the patient’s history, current and past medications, conditions, and provider notes, to ensure they are delivering the best level of care.
E-prescribing systems can seamlessly be integrated into Care Management platforms, further enhancing the quality of care and improving patient outcomes. When the entire patient profile is in the same platform used to prescribe a new or existing medication, providers can easily access a patient’s health history and write a more informed and safer prescription.
The best Care Management platform to meet your needs
Implementing e-prescribing in your practice will significantly benefit your care team and patients. Aside from the convenience, e-prescribing has the power to enhance medication adherence, improve patient health outcomes, and increase medication safety.
Focusing on patient-centered care means being dedicated to providing the best options for patients. Utilizing a Care Management platform that seamlessly integrates e-prescribing allows your care team to deliver the highest caliber of care. Supporting the continuum of care, improving health outcomes, and ensuring patient safety are top of mind at Welkin. That’s why we’ve built a Care Management platform designed specifically for healthcare professionals. With customizable integrations, automated care delivery, and exceptional care coordination, Welkin is the top choice for patient-centered care.
Welkin is proud to announce our integrated labs and eRx functionality into our Care Management platform, designed to support clinical interventions. This enhancement allows us to offer an automated CRM approach to care management that replaces expensive and burdensome electronic healthcare systems. Learn more about our integrated labs and eRx integrations.