November 2, 2021
3 min. read

How E-Prescribing is Changing the Prescribing Process


The medical world is changing as a result of ever-growing developments of the digital landscape. Medical prescriptions are just one example of these changes. Read below for more about what e-prescriptions are, how they work, and what they can do for your practice.

More medications are being prescribed than ever before, and with this increase comes the potential for more mistakes. E-prescribing, however, has the potential to reduce and eliminate some of the possibilities for mistakes by fostering efficiency and patient safety. In addition, it can create possible opportunities for further improvements in cost-savings for medical clinics, hospitals, and patients.


What is E-Prescribing?

What is e-prescribing exactly? In short, electronic prescribing – e-prescribing – functions as a tool to increase communication and efficiency for doctors, prescribers, and patients. With e-prescribing, healthcare providers can simply enter prescription information into a computer device—a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer—and securely transmit the prescription to its designated pharmacy computer device in safe and neat order.

This is done through a special software program and connectivity to a transmission network. When the prescription is received in the network , the software parses through the information, sorting it into a series of structured data fields by the national standard. The information, when received by the pharmacy computer, follows safety protocols identical to the doctors’ input before incorporating the prescription data into its database. Ultimately, when a pharmacy receives a new request, it can begin filling the medication promptly, with accuracy and security. With an e-prescribing service, your practice can declutter its services, collapsing the gap between prescriber and pharmacy.

How is E-Prescribing Changing the Prescribing Process?

E-prescribing seeks to decrease medication errors and the issues that can accompany it. A study conducted on the effects and efficiency of e-prescribing showed a drop in error rates from 42.5 per 100 prescriptions to 6.6 per 100 prescriptions, nearly a seventh of the previous level. This was just one year after the adoption of e-prescribing in 12 community-based practices.


E-prescribing also improves the efficiency of the prescribing process: another study found that despite the digital entry of a new prescription estimating roughly 20 seconds longer per patient than the manual, hand-written prescription, these seconds are offset by the time saved since less clarification is needed for electronic prescriptions. The software does this for you. Primarily due to less paperwork and fewer issues to be resolved, e-prescriptions offer this additional time-relieving factor. With e-prescriptions, prescribers have found that less time is spent addressing mistakes with pharmacies such as prior authorizations and refill requests.


E-prescription services offer financial benefits, too.

There is the potential to save money using e-prescribing: a study done by Surescripts between 2008 and 2010 estimated $140 to $240 billion in savings and improved health outcomes, mainly through improved medication adherence, over 10 years. Large savings also occur with the reduction of adverse drug events, mostly due to reduced visits to primary care offices and emergency rooms.

Resources: What Really Is Electronic Prescribing? Electronic prescribing improves medication safety in community-based office practices Electronic prescribing at the point of care: a time-motion study in the primary care setting An empirical model to estimate the potential impact of medication safety alerts on patient safety, health care utilization, and cost in ambulatory care

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