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The Benefits of Electronic Prescription Services

UPDATED:
October 12, 2023
Pharmacist helps woman

Electronic prescription services have been growing rapidly over the last decade. It’s become vital to the push for advancing safety and quality in the prescribing process amidst the growth and complexities of the US healthcare system. Every state in the U.S. now allows electronic prescriptions and its practice is becoming more widely adopted. Federal regulations permit pharmacies and practices to electronically receive and dispense prescription medications, while many states require all medications to be electronically prescribed. 

The many advantages for both patients and providers are what make electronic prescriptions a must-have for healthcare systems nationwide. Let’s review the benefits of implementing e-prescribing software and offering electronic prescription services.

The Advantages of Electronic Prescriptions

There are many benefits to using electronic prescriptions which can transform the prescription process and make things more efficient. Here are the most common benefits practices have seen after implementing an e-prescribing solution.

Increased accuracy and safety

E-prescription software can reduce the number of prescription errors caused by illegible handwriting, misunderstood oral orders, duplications, or incorrect names or dosages. 

Taking the wrong medication can result in serious medical complications, making it imperative that the right medication is prescribed and distributed to patients. Additionally, instructions for dosage are communicated clearly so that the patient understands how frequently and how much of their medication they should take. 

Using digital prescriptions rather than handwritten ones reduces time spent deciphering prescription details and gets patients their medication quicker. It takes the guesswork out of the details.

Automated clinical decision support is another benefit of using e-prescription software. Many systems provide real-time alerts for drug interactions, allergies, and other potential prescription issues. E-prescriptions clearly state the medication so an error can be identified before it is mistakenly sent off to be filled. Being able to detect if a medication may negatively interact with a condition a patient has or a medication they’re already taking could be life-saving.

Improved efficiency and convenience

Physicians can send electronic prescriptions directly to a pharmacy, saving patients the extra step of dropping off a paper prescription. This enables prescriptions to be filled faster and ready for patient use sooner. 

Pharmacies can request electronic refills, which can be approved by healthcare providers with a few clicks. This makes the refill process easier for both the patient and the provider. The provider can also track refill fulfillment online to ensure it is completed in a timely manner.

Enhanced patient care and adherence

Patients are more likely to pick up and take their medications when e-prescriptions are used, in part because of the streamlined process and the ability to better track and remind patients. The clarity of a digitized system can eliminate confusion among patients, making them more likely to take the medications as prescribed.

Cost Savings

Patients are also more likely to fill their prescriptions and take them as prescribed if they can afford them. E-prescribing systems can suggest generic alternatives or preferred drugs based on a patient's insurance, potentially reducing their costs. Digital prescriptions also reduce the need for paper, printing, and storage, which can be costly to a business. Eliminating the need for paperwork can ultimately save a healthcare provider from this expense.

Streamlined Workflow

E-prescriptions are automatically documented in electronic health records (EHR), streamlining record-keeping and improving the completeness of patient medication histories.

With the ability to check insurance benefits electronically, some systems can automatically get medication approval, ensuring coverage and reducing wait times.

Environmental Benefits

When e-prescribing reduces the use of paper prescriptions, it generates less waste, ultimately benefiting the environment. From the script being written to insurance printouts, everything can be done online with electronic services, rather than paper.

Enhanced Tracking & Reporting

E-prescriptions can assist in tracking and reporting for public health purposes, such as monitoring prescription drug abuse or tracking epidemics. Effective as of August 2023, the DEA’s Final Rule "Final Rule: Transfer of Electronic Prescriptions for Schedules II-V Controlled Substances Between Pharmacies for Initial Filling (PDF)” was published in the Federal Register. The rule revises DEA regulations to allow practitioners to fill prescriptions for controlled substances electronically. The regulations also allow pharmacies to receive and dispense these electronic prescriptions. The regulations enable pharmacies, hospitals, and practitioners to use technology for controlled substance prescriptions while maintaining control of controlled substances. This is to ensure proper prescription and prevent drug misuse. 

Electronic data can be analyzed to derive insights into prescribing patterns, medication usage, and other relevant trends.

Interoperability

E-prescriptions can be easily integrated with other health IT systems, such as pharmacy management systems or EHRs, providing a comprehensive view of patient health and care. Typically, e-prescription services can also be integrated into practice management software, scheduling and billing systems, and electronic medical records, incorporating it into the overall workflow of the healthcare system. This interoperability can be key in ensuring accuracy, safety, and cost-effectiveness.

Improved Privacy and Security

E-prescriptions are typically transmitted over secure connections, reducing the risk of unauthorized access. Patients can be assured that their medical information remains private and secure from prescriber to pharmacy and anywhere between. 

All electronic transactions, including e-prescriptions, have a built-in audit trail, which can be useful for monitoring and ensuring compliance with regulations.

Reduced Fraud

Digital transmission and tracking mechanisms can help reduce prescription fraud, which is a concern with paper prescriptions. Creating a digital “paper trail” enables each step to be completed with records along the way. This reduces the chances of fraud with detailed records of each step in the prescription process. It also reduces the chances of a prescription getting lost because it is tracked through the system.

How Office Ally's OA-Rx Electronic Prescription Services Stand Out

OA-Rx (Office Ally Prescriptions) is a fully integrated and award-winning solution, certified to support the prescribing of controlled substances, renewals, change requests, interaction checking, prior authorization, and much more.

OA-Rx is ECPS-certified (electronic prescriptions for controlled substances) and fully integrated into Practice Mate ($0) and EHR 24/7 ($39.95 per month, per provider) for uninterrupted workflows.

The Road Ahead for Electronic Prescribing

Electronic prescription services offer many benefits to healthcare practices and patients alike. Its ease of use, record-keeping abilities, and accuracy are just a few of the many ways e-prescribing makes life easier for all involved.

Consider adopting Office Ally's services in your practice with a minimal investment. Electronic prescriptions are the future of healthcare. We’ve come a long way since the days when prescriptions were simply a matter of data entry. Digitizing them has enhanced the capabilities into a robust system that understands algorithms and can detect errors before a pharmacist or physician recognizes them. Further improvements see costs decreasing and various systems working together through software integrations. 

Driving prescriptions safely and more efficiently is the key to success in improving patient medication. Knowing the process is monitored from start to finish and can reduce errors and costs and improve patient health by ensuring they receive the correct medication at an affordable rate are all reasons why an e-prescribing system is worth it in healthcare. Don’t leave anything to chance — try Office Ally’s e-prescribing software today and take matters into your own hands.