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Christina Rosario

By: Christina Rosario on September 27th, 2023

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How an Electronic Prescription Works

Practice Management | Electronic Health Records | Healthcare Advice

In the rapidly evolving landscape of healthcare, the way physicians communicate complex and sensitive patient information has undergone a significant transformation, especially with the rise of the Internet. Traditional practices, rooted in the era before digitalization, have started giving way to more efficient and patient-friendly approaches. One such evolution is in how we handle prescriptions, where the shift from paper-based to electronic methods has become increasingly vital.

If you're a physician who has been relying on old-fashioned, paper prescriptions, it might be time to consider the benefits of electronic prescriptions. While the trusty prescription pad served its purpose, patients today often seek greater convenience and efficiency, particularly when it comes to managing their medications.

The conventional paper prescription method hinges on the physician's individualized prescription pad for security reasons, aiming to prevent fraudulent prescriptions. These paper prescriptions must be meticulously safeguarded by staff. Once the patient receives the signed prescription, they're tasked with taking it to a pharmacy, where it is filled. However, this process can entail an uncertain waiting period, depending on the pharmacy's workload.

In stark contrast, electronic prescriptions utilize computer-based security measures instead of relying on physical paper. The physician electronically "signs" the prescription, which is then promptly transmitted to the patient's preferred pharmacy. One clear advantage of electronic prescriptions is that the pharmacy can begin filling the prescription while the patient is en route, saving valuable time.

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Understanding Electronic Prescribing

Electronic prescribing, in essence, is the contemporary, computerized counterpart to traditional paper prescriptions. After diagnosing the patient, the healthcare provider inputs or selects the required medication using specialized software. The prescription is then electronically signed and secured through robust encryption and other security measures.

Your medical office can maintain control over who on your team has access to a patient's prescription details, and regular security audits can track file access.

An essential feature of any electronic prescription system is its capability to instantly transmit prescriptions securely to the pharmacy's computer. This eliminates the need for patients to present a physical printout or for pharmacies to contend with incoming faxes or decipher illegible handwritten notes on prescription pads.

How Electronic Prescriptions Work

For those who are new to electronic prescribing, a brief overview of the technical aspects can be enlightening.

Modern medical practices commonly employ Electronic Health Record (EHR) software to digitize patient records. In this workflow, a physician or nurse practitioner concludes a patient examination and inputs the medication details into the EHR. This system provides instant access to the patient's medication history, including any allergies or sensitivities to specific drugs.

Electronic prescribing can function as a standalone module or integrate seamlessly into a comprehensive EHR system, offering flexibility to suit your practice's unique requirements.

Enhancing the Patient Experience

The adoption of electronic prescribing brings positive changes not only for medical staff but also for patients. Patients will find less need for in-office visits solely for prescription refills. Moreover, by reducing the risk of handwriting-related errors, electronic prescriptions contribute to fewer medication mistakes, enhancing patient safety.

Information accessibility is greatly improved, including comprehensive details about specific drugs—ingredients, pharmacological actions, potential side effects, and a detailed list of contraindicated medications. Patients accustomed to planning their day around trips to the doctor's office and the pharmacy will welcome the time-saving convenience of e-prescribing. Before leaving your office, their digital prescription information is already transmitted to the pharmacy, streamlining the process significantly.

Additionally, some state Department of Health mandates require special protocols for prescriptions of controlled substances. Utilizing electronic prescriptions ensures compliance when dealing with potentially addictive medications.

The elimination of the need for patients to provide prescription details each time they visit the pharmacy simplifies and expedites the process. Retention of medication data also facilitates swift refill requests.

Comprehensive drug information, including medication details, allergies, and provider-specific formularies, is readily accessible.

Benefits of Electronic Prescriptions

Incorporating electronic prescription capabilities into your practice offers a range of benefits:

  1. Fewer Callbacks From Pharmacies: Illegible handwriting can lead to pharmacists contacting your office for clarification on prescriptions, a problem easily mitigated by electronic prescriptions.

  2. Paper Files Replaced: The transition to electronic prescriptions frees up space previously devoted to storing patient paper files, creating room for additional examination rooms or expanding your practice.

  3. Improved Patient Outcomes: By reducing preventable errors, electronic prescriptions can enhance patient outcomes. The system can automatically flag contraindications between multiple drugs, allowing for safer substitutions.

As a busy physician who values your patients' time, adopting electronic prescriptions offers a clear advantage. The convenience, time savings, advanced security, and the ability to replace cumbersome paper records with an efficient computerized system make electronic prescriptions a modern-day necessity.

Your patients will also appreciate the convenience of quicker access to their medications. If you have any questions about integrating electronic prescriptions into your practice, we invite you to explore our free Electronic Prescribing Software Recorded Demo.

Key Takeaway

  1. Transition for Efficiency: Physicians accustomed to paper-based prescriptions should consider transitioning to electronic prescriptions for enhanced efficiency.

  2. Enhanced Security: Electronic prescriptions provide superior security compared to antiquated paper-based methods.

  3. Streamlined Patient Experience: Patients benefit from the convenience of prescriptions being transmitted directly to the pharmacy, reducing wait times.

  4. Error Reduction: Electronic prescriptions minimize errors caused by illegible handwriting, ensuring safer medication management.

  5. Reduced Administrative Burden: Fewer phone calls from pharmacies seeking prescription clarifications streamline your practice's administrative tasks.

  6. Instant Access to Information: Patients gain immediate access to comprehensive medication information, including contraindications and potential side effects.


About Christina Rosario

Christina Rosario is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Advanced Data Systems Corporation, a leading provider of healthcare IT solutions for medical practices and billing companies. When she's not helping ADS clients boost productivity and profitability, she can be found browsing travel websites, shopping in NYC, and spending time with her family.