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Written by Patricia Tunstall
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The relationship between medication prescribing and medication dispensing is an intimate one. Both require a depth of knowledge about drugs and their administration that is critical to the proper treatment of patients. Medical professionals with the highest credentials engage in each endeavor: physicians and pharmacists.

The valuable time of each professional should be dedicated to medical concerns that need the application of their knowledge and training. In the current medical delivery structure, however, both highly-educated experts are forced to waste a lot of time in order to perform their jobs. Too much effort goes into handwriting prescriptions that must be hand carried to a pharmacist who must call to confirm details on the prescription that are not clear.

Time Is Money

Studies indicate prescriptions must be verified nearly 40 percent of the time, and a typical pharmacy call to a physician to clarify a prescription costs the physician's practice $5-$7. Each call requires that a chart be pulled and a call returned. Staff time is taken up with this busywork, or perhaps the physician must be consulted about an illegible drug name or dosage or instructions in the handwritten prescription.

These particular problems disappear with ePrescribing in which clear prescriptions are printed in the physician's office, or sent directly to a pharmacy chosen by the patient. With electronic communication between the physician's office and the pharmacy, no phone calls are needed. Messages and requests are instantly transmitted from one to the other without the need for translation of or consultation about anyone's handwriting.

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