E-Prescriptions Triple in 2009
The Wall Street Journal reports that in 2009, 191 million prescriptions were filed electronically. That is almost triple the number of electronic prescriptions sent out in 2008. The trend is expected to continue as more private physicians purchase the programs to offer the electronic service.
The software allows doctors to pull up lists of applicable medications, and their prices, in the office and transmit the chosen prescription to a local pharmacy electronically. The programs eliminate mistakes that traditionally occur because of difficult to read handwriting or damaged paper slips. Physicians also say that the use of electronic lists also help them discuss costs and potential insurance coverage with patients, which reduces the number of call backs when patients get to the pharmacy.
Errors can still occur with prescriptions but overall patients, doctors, and pharmacists are supportive of the electronic systems. Pharmacists report having more time to spend with patients since phone calls to physicians to double check prescriptions are less frequent. In 2010 almost one in five prescriptions so far has been filed electronically. As the federal government pushes for an increase in electronic medical records the use of e-prescriptions is expected to continue to rise.