Best Rx Online

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Current prescription writing is antiquated and needs to be overhauled. That is the judgment of many health organizations, and of the federal government, which has issued specifications and standards to reform the system by April 1, 2008. Over three billion prescriptions are written annually; 95 percent of doctors still hand write their patients' prescriptions.

Studies reveal that approximately 8.8 million adverse drug events (ADE) occur each year in ambulatory (non-hospital) care; over three million of these are judged to be preventable. Errors occur for many reasons, but one of the most common--and most preventable--is due to physicians' handwriting. Not only is their handwriting often illegible, but they persist in using ancient language, symbols, and abbreviations in their prescriptions.

Latin May Be a Dead Language

The use of Latin has slowly been eradicated in various institutions, but residual bits of it live on in doctors' prescriptions. "Rx," for instance, is an abbreviation for "recipe," Latin for the imperative, "take thou." Other vestiges of Latin remain in modern prescriptions for no good reason; custom alone decrees that these bits-and-pieces of another language be used.

Electronic prescription writing relies on truly modernized formularies, patient medical histories, and transmission methods. ePrescribing is done in five seconds, with the prescription sent to the printer in the doctor's office or to the pharmacist. Doctors have access to tens of thousands of pharmacies, which can easily process renewals and refills because they are part of the electronic system. Online electronic providers have established efficient infrastructures operating nationwide to streamline current "Rx" prescriptions.

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