E-prescribing helps doctors monitor patient behavior

New prescription technology related to electronic medical software – such as those from Medisoft and Lytec – is allowing medical professionals to analyze patient behavior related to prescription compliance as they never have before.

A study by Harvard University, Brigham and Women's Hospital and CVS Caremark found last week that 24 percent of patients did not fill a new prescription given to them by their doctor. The information is valuable for doctors, who need to know that information in order to properly treat their patients.

"When patients don't take their medications, especially for chronic conditions, they miss an opportunity to improve their health and avoid long-term complications," Dr. Michael Fischer, the study's lead author, said in a press release.

In addition, medication non-compliance is extremely expensive – $170 billion annually, according to the New York Times.

Prior to the onset of e-prescribing tools, medical professionals could only analyze a patient's condition after assessing his or her reaction to the scheduled first prescription. Now, doctors can observe prescription rates and work with patients to determine why they did not fill their prescription.

Researchers identified several reasons why patients do not not adhere to prescription orders, including high out-of-pocket cost, socioeconomic factors and the type of medication being prescribed. Another factor could simply be the difficulty of having to go to another location to fill a prescription.

"One wonders if this difference reflects the fact that our system is so fragmented and if better integration would improve adherence rates," Fischer told the news source.

E-prescribing programs assist medical practice management as the industry further embraces paperless medical offices. E-prescribing allows doctors to be aware of their patient's non-compliance even if he or she does not disclose it. Then the two parties can work together to achieve an ideal solution.