E-Prescriptions

1 03 2010

Today there seems to be a big push towards doctors filing  “e-prescriptions.” What does this mean? Well, researchers say that it means doctors are less likely to make a mistake in prescribing the medication. Weill Cornell Medical College physician-scientists conducted a study that showed that when doctors and health care providers use an electronic system they are 7 times less likely to make an error opposed to writing them out by hand.

I found an article on the medical news today website and thought it was pertinent to the subject of this blog. The article is called Electronic Prescriptions Reduce Errors By Seven-Fold.

Dr. Rainu Kaushal states that they “found nearly two in five handwritten prescriptions in these community practices had errors.” When talking about prescription drugs that is huge! These errors are not likely to be lethal, but they are errors nonetheless and can be damaging.

This article describes a study done in New York: Researchers looked at the prescriptions written by health physicians at 12 different community places in the Hudson Valley area. They compared the prescription errors between 15 health care providers who used e-prescriptions and 15 who wrote them out by hand.

This is what they found: The authors reviewed 3,684 paper-based prescriptions at the beginning and 3,848 paper-based and e-prescriptions a year later. The percentage of errors, after one year, was astounding. They dropped from 42.5% to 6.6% for those using the electronic system. The ones who wrote prescriptions by hand has slightly increased from 37.3% to 38.4%.

Benefits of e-prescriptions: Looking at the Government’s Health and Human Services website they give some reasons electronic prescriptions are beneficial. Here are a few reasons why it is beneficial. (Article: The Benefits on Electronic Prescribing)

  1. Improve quality and proficiency
  2. Reduce costs (co-payments)
  3. Work-flow efficiencies
  4. Eliminate ineligibility problems of hand-written prescriptions
  5. Reduce incidence of drug diversion by alerting health care providers (i.e. duplicating prescriptions)

When dealing with counterfeit drugs electronic prescriptions may or may not help. It seems to be very beneficial. The consequences though, may be that people are more apt to purchase their drugs online since the prescriptions are electronic. This could pose as a huge problem and a better way to get fake pharmaceuticals to more people. Consumers are still going to have to be smart.

EXAMPLES:

Hand-written prescription

Electronic Prescription

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