Prescription writing has not changed in over 100 years. Doctors put pen to paper and scribble out something for the patient to take to the pharmacist to decipher and fill. The Institute of Medicine estimates there are approximately 1.5 million preventable adverse drug events (ADEs) each year, with 7000 or more of those resulting in death—all of which are linked to poor handwriting and/or prescription filling errors. Only in the last few years has prescription writing finally caught up with the 21st century. E-prescribing now allows prescribers to electronically send prescriptions directly to a chosen pharmacy, essentially eliminating handwriting and deciphering errors.
In addition to a nearly 99% reduction in medication errors, e-prescribing:
- enhances patient care,
- makes clinical information and patient information available anywhere/anytime,
- tracks prescription filling and patient compliance, and
- improves the prescriber workflow by decreasing interruptions associated with the traditional method of writing prescriptions.
When the DEA allowed e-prescribing of schedule II-V medications, e-prescribing became a perfect tool for hospice patient care. Prescribers can quickly send needed pain prescriptions to the pharmacy without having to track down the nearest fax machine or hope the pharmacist will take an emergency verbal on a CII. Medication usage is just a few clicks away; no need to call the pharmacy and wait on hold and search for scratch paper to write it all down. E-prescribing allows prescribers and pharmacists to focus on patient care and making the quality of end of life the best it can be.
- King, Jennifer, et al. “Clinical benefits of electronic health record use: national findings.” Health services research 49.1pt2 (2014): 392-404.
- Porterfield, Amber, and Kate Engelbert. “Electronic prescribing: improving the efficiency and accuracy of prescribing in the ambulatory care setting.” Perspectives in Health Information Management (2014): 1.
- Gabriel MH, Swain M. E-Prescribing Trends in the United States. ONC Data Brief, no.18. Washington, DC: Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, July 2014.