Over four billion prescriptions are written annually in the U.S., but most of those prescriptions are no longer written on paper. By April 2014, 70 percent of physicians were prescribing electronically. The number of providers e-prescribing has boomed in recent years due to a host of incentives and a variety of perceived benefits, including cost savings and the reduced risk of human error.
Why the surge in popularity?
E-prescribing allows doctors to send prescriptions to pharmacies from an electronic device, reducing prescription errors and reducing the time that patients must spend waiting at drug stores. The software can review a patient’s drug history to spot dangerous risks of medication allergies, improper dosages and negative interactions with other drugs that the patient is taking. By allowing physicians to check the cost of co-payments for generic, formulary and nonformulary drugs in a patient’s health plan, the software can also save patients money.
A recent study from AHIMA published in Perspectives in Health Information Management showed that more than 80 percent of adults over 50 prefer e-prescriptions over paper and pen. Furthermore, 93 percent said that they were satisfied with physicians who used e-prescribing.
Patients noted convenience as a leading factor. Many also noted the elimination of problems related to bad handwriting or lost paper prescriptions. On the other hand, patients who preferred paper prescriptions stated that they felt a greater sense of control over their care with a paper prescription in hand.