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Practitioner’s Guide to E-Prescribing Requirements

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Electronic prescribing of medications is becoming an increasingly common practice in healthcare systems and practices.  In 2019, 80% of prescriptions were prescribed electronically, and that number is only predicted to grow. E-prescribing is the electronic generation, transmission, and filling of a prescription, in place of the typical paper or faxed prescriptions.  Most commonly used in outpatient care settings, e-prescribing has the potential to streamline the prescription process, saving providers and patients both time and money.  With the ability to integrate electronic prescribing into your EHR or keep it separate, this practice can help providers improve the quality of care they provide to patients.  

Both federal and state legislation has begun regarding e-prescribing.  In 2021, it is likely that e-prescribing will be required under Medicare Part D.  It’s important that practitioners are well-versed in electronic prescription requirements and are prepared for any changes in the process that may be put into effect soon.  Read on to discover the benefits of e-prescribing and how to implement it in your practice.  

Benefits of E-Prescribing

With electronic prescribing, or “e-Prescribing,” health care providers can enter prescription information into a computer device – like a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer – and securely transmit the prescription to pharmacies using a special software program and connectivity to a transmission network. When a pharmacy receives a request, it can begin filling the medication right away.

✓ Saves time and costs 

E-prescribing patient medication is key in saving time and effort for both your and your patients.  Electronic prescribing decreases the time required to prescribe medications, as the process can be easily completed on the computer, directly after the appointment.  There is less back and forth with pharmacists for clarifications, with automated processing at the pharmacy.  Patients can then pick-up their medications faster and work on improving their health outcomes.   

Additionally, e-prescribing has been proven to save providers and patients a considerable amount of money when implemented correctly.  New studies show that practitioners and the healthcare industry could save between $140 and $240 billion over 10 years, due to reduced adverse drug events and improved patient outcomes.  Patients have been shown to save $482 per month, or decrease their spending by 17.5% on new prescriptions.  Implementing electronic prescribing is a simple way to significantly reduce everyday healthcare costs.  

✓ Improves medication adherence

Electronic prescribing has been shown to increase medication adherence in patients, therefore improving health outcomes and reducing costs.  A 10% increase in picked-up medications was seen when said medications were prescribed electronically. With decreased time in between prescribing the medication and dispensing it, picking up and taking the medication will stay top of mind for your clients.  

Improved medication adherence inherently improves patient health outcomes.  The World Health Organization has identified medication adherence as potentially have a greater effect on health outcomes than any improvement in medical interventions. An established medication routine allows patients to take simple, manageable steps towards improving their health when working with their healthcare provider. 

✓ Increased patient safety & quality of care

E-prescribing is being advocated as an important strategy for increasing patient safety and quality of care.  Most importantly, it increases prescription legibility, therefore decreasing the chances of any errors made when filling the prescription.  Additionally, when e-prescribing is integrated with a practitioner’s electronic health record, they can cross-reference patients’ charts for any potential interactions with other medications, health conditions, and allergies.  Studies have shown that within one year of implementing electronic prescriptions, prescription errors were reduced from 42.5% to 6.6%. 

Using E-Prescribing Systems in Your Practice

✓ Share new policies with patients

When transitioning to using electronic prescribing systems in your practice, it’s important to communicate the new process to your patients.  It is unlikely anything substantial will change in the way they receive their medications, except for potentially a quicker turnaround time between prescribing and dispensing.  However, it is best practice for patients to sign a release waiver, giving you permission to electronically send personal information to the pharmacy through your e-prescribing software.  

✓ Use a HIPAA-compliant software

Implementing e-prescribing in your software does mean sharing the personal health information of patients electronically.  It’s crucial for your practice to use HIPAA-compliant software to complete this process, to ensure the safety of your patients’ information.  Being that e-prescribing is a relatively new practice, there are not many specific HIPAA regulations regarding sending electronic prescriptions.  The best way to combat any potential problems is to use a secure, cloud-based, HIPAA-compliant platform to send prescriptions and communicate with the pharmacy.  

✓ Communicate with pharmacies

It’s also essential for providers to share the updated prescription procedure with pharmacies, to avoid any confusion.  Eventually, once the prescription workflow has been implemented effectively, communication with pharmacies will improve substantially, with less confusion and questions occurring due to a streamlined practice.  

Using Healthie’s E-Prescribing Feature

Healthie is an all-in-one practice management platform designed for healthcare providers. Designed to help you improve your workflows, Healthie is the only HIPAA-compliant software that hosts direct integrations and features needed for comprehensive care. 

If you are interested in offering e-prescribing in your practice, contact us today to learn how Healthie can support you. Send us an email at hello@gethealthie.com.

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