Prescription Help

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Physicians relinquish a lot of time, money, and patient safety by clinging to an archaic medication delivery system that revolves around the handwritten prescription. The many steps and tasks involved in completing one of these prescriptions could be better spent on seeing another patient, or researching a complex medical issue. Simply put, electronic programs eradicate many of these small, time-consuming tasks, so a physician is able to concentrate on matters that require expertise.

The Value of ePrescribing

Electronic systems bring many time-saving and valuable features to a physician's practice, from real time, patient-specific formulary consults to real time viewing of patient medication histories. Prescriptions are created quickly, with no problems associated with physicians' handwriting because the prescriptions are produced electronically. Hand-held devices permit a physician to carry a portable drug library and formulary along while seeing patients.

So much time is saved through these features and electronic devices, but more important, so many medication errors are prevented. By removing problems associated with handwriting--drug names, dosages, and quantity--ePrescribing cuts down on preventable errors. This, of course, reduces the deaths and adverse drug events that plague the current medication delivery methods.

Studies done in hospitals indicate that electronic prescribing can reduce errors by 50 percent or more. Other studies show that 45 percent of physicians who use ePrescribing immediately increase compliance with formulary guidelines. More than 80 percent of surveyed physicians who use ePrescribing say it improves delivery of medical treatment; two-thirds state it improves their personal efficiency as they engage in their daily practice.

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