e-prescribing Software Buyers Guide
Last updated: June 07, 2023
What is E-Prescribing Software?
E-Prescribing is known as electronic prescribing, and a software that can generate electronic prescription is known as an E-Prescribing Software. An e-prescribing software is one that generates and sends the prescription to the pharmacy of patient’s choice directly from point of care.
A doctor can generate prescriptions with their mobile, tablet, laptop or computer rather than doing it the manual way, of writing, calling or faxing.
Prescription renewal requests can also be generated electronically from the pharmacy. The prescriptions are transmitted through a safe and secure network, provided by the software vendor. The network comprises of many other pharmacies that are easily accessible to the patients.
Due to e-prescriptions, accuracy and patient safety have been improved, as well as the quality of care. Many e-prescribing software support drug-drug interaction and drug-allergy checks as well.
How Does E-Prescribing Software Work?
The working of e-prescribing software is not very complex. It has solved a lot of issues, related to prescription. When a patient visits the doctor, all the information related to the patient is stored in the software. According to the patient’s condition, the doctor generates a prescription. Then that prescription is sent to the pharmacy of patient’s choice. All of this is done on the EHR systems installed in the office.
The system is bi-directional, so when the patient runs out of refills, they can go to the pharmacy, the pharmacist then sends a renewal request to the physician. The physician can either accept the request or cancel it. The e-prescribing software save patients from the inconvenience of going down to the physician and getting their prescription renewed. The system gets it done without any hassle.
There are many other functionalities that EHR vendors provide, along with the e-prescription functionality, like order management tool, that ensures the prescription have been received at the pharmacy.
There are many medication options available, from which the physician can select. Some systems, sends alerts related to drug-drug interaction or drug-allergy, so this way the physician is fully aware about the medication and makes the right decision.
Most software vendors also allow the physician to import patient’s history from pharmacy’s database or through medication claims history, provided by the insurance company.
Benefits of E-Prescription
E-prescribing software offers quite a lot of benefits, the first benefit which is obvious, is that it reduces paper usage. Prescription transfer becomes easier and hassle-free. Patient’s care and safety is enhanced, as the system alerts for any allergies or drug-drug interactions. Provides better quality and patient experience. It saves a lot of time. Also reduces the need for phone calls and faxes.
There have been many advancements in the e-prescribing technology market as well. There are many advanced features the e-prescribing software provides such as patient history, security checks of data, preparation of comprehensive medication list. The more the features, the more it gets prominent in the market. These advancements have increased the quality and scope of patient care.
According to the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT, in the U.S. 90 percent of the pharmacies and 70 percent of the physicians use e-prescribing software, and it has proven to be more efficient, reduces medication errors and saves cost.
E-Prescribing Software Adoption
Due to the rise of investments in healthcare technology the rate of e-prescribing adoption has increased lately. Upgraded infrastructure and expanded healthcare technology have helped e-prescribing technology grow. The e-prescribing software market have been aided with the rise in adoption of integrated EHR.
There are two types of systems that software vendors offer:
- Stand-alone system
- EHR suite
The stand-alone system is less expensive than the EHR suite, but that is also because it offers only one functionality of e-prescribing. The EHR suite has more functionalities in it, that helps in a lot of other medical processes. Most of the physicians opt the EHR suite as, it is more convenient.
The size of the practice and the budget are the two factors that influence the decision making, whether to select the stand-alone system or the EHR suite.
In the stand-alone system, new modules can later be added according to the requirements, and if there is no need for more functionalities currently then this would be a better choice. But if the size of practice is large then EHR suite is the most preferable option.
The growth of e-prescribing market is limited due to the high costs of e-prescribing systems and the risks linked with patient’s privacy and security. Patient privacy is significant and needs to be protected, yet there have not been any laws that protects it which is a major factor that discourages pharmacies and healthcare professionals from switching to e-prescribing software.
E-Prescribing Incentive Program
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) encourages electronic health records adoption through incentive payments to physicians. E-prescribing is now necessary to get incentives. E-prescribing is a vital part of meaningful use. Physicians that want to participate in this program to get incentives need to get EHR systems that have the e-prescribing functionality in it.
The government initiated this incentive program because they want to improve the quality of healthcare, by minimizing prescription errors and reducing healthcare costs. There is a standard developed for e-prescribing. Government initiatives, like the American Recover and Reinvestment Act (ARRA - 2009), and the Drug Enforcement Administration’s rule allowing Electronic Prescription of Controlled Substances (EPCS) have aided, so that the use of e-prescribing increases.
E-Prescribing of Controlled Substances
Most EHR vendors as well as stand alone e-prescribing software now have the ability to electronically prescribe controlled substances such as opoids and amphetamines.
Adopting this functionality now will help providers avoid penalty in the coming years as The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, mandates providers to electronically prescribe controlled substances under Medicare Part D by January 1, 2021.
Electronic prescribing systems saves physicians from all the manual effort in the healthcare industry. Patient care becomes more efficient and improved with more features that are offered by the software vendors. There is a lot of investment being done in digital healthcare which will eventually help improve the adoption of e-prescribing systems. E-prescribing software is now a necessity.