Eprescribing improvements needed, a new study suggests

This past November, a report from Surescripts – one of the nation's largest eprescribing networks – indicated that more than 50 percent of all office-based doctors were now equipped to send prescriptions to pharmacies electronically. While this represented significant year-over-year growth for the emerging technology, a subsequent report indicated that electronic prescriptions are not being received by pharmacies at a comparable level.

Published on November 18 by the Journal of America Medicine, the report – known formally as "Transmitting and Processing Electronic Prescriptions: Experiences of Physician Practices and Pharmacies" – surveyed private practices and pharmacies across the country in a series of 114 telephone interviews.

In total, the researchers found that more than 50 percent of community pharmacies were receiving less than 15 percent of these documents electronically. This was in spite of the fact that 66 percent of physician practices said they were sending at least 70 percent of this paperwork through eprescribing software, the report noted. The researchers suggested in the report that this discrepancy was because many private practices still relied on faxing or printing prescriptions as a way to send these patient documents.

While the purpose of the study was to better understand the barriers for the integration of this software, some of these problems are well documented. For example, given the amount of time and effort it can take on the part of a small medical facility to make the upgrade, doctors who are interested in making use of eprescribing may be hesitant to upgrade without extra help.

By working with an eprescribing provider that can help with installation, physicians may find that their medical practice management capabilities increase through better documentation. As this relationship progresses, these doctors may even want to invest in Medisoft 17, a program that can help doctors streamline their patient accounting and accounts receivable more efficiently.