Study shows eprescribing in California is not living up to its full potential

The growth of eprescribing software is helping to achieve marked improvements in the prescription process, solving problems for facilities that used to rely on traditional paper prescriptions. While something as simple as bad handwriting could lead a hand-written prescription to be misinterpreted by a pharmacist, sending the message electronically ensures the order is delivered in legible print.

Electronic records also provide doctors with a more thorough data bank that clearly outlines patients' medical history and allergies so the physician is less likely to prescribe medication that could lead to an adverse reaction.

Moreover, sending prescriptions electronically ensures the order is not lost in transit, allowing doctors to confirm they were procured by the right person.

Considering the improvements to patient care achieved through eprescribing, it may be surprising to note that Cal eConnect, an organization designated to oversee California's health information exchange, published a recent study that found only 25 percent of the state's healthcare practitioners are using eprescribing software.

Further, some California regions were found to have significantly less access to eprescribing, preventing facilities in areas like Modoc, Del Norte and Humbolt Counties from enhancing patient care with advances in healthcare IT.

Interestingly, 15 medical facilities in Massachusetts were reportedly just awarded more than $14.6 million in federal funding to improve their practice with a new system of electronic medical records.

As such, it would benefit healthcare providers in California to similarly apply for large federal grants under the HITECH act after showing meaningful use of medical technology through practices like eprescribing.

Once the practice has procured the appropriate funds, it would be wise for medical facility managers to then deploy the services of a certified medical technology consulting company to both implement the software and train staff regarding proper use. This way, the practice will be able to seamlessly transition to an electronic system, increasing productivity and the quality of care patients receive.

Microwize Technology is a leading healthcare IT consultant offering products such as electronic medical records software and medical billing software from top providers like Allscripts and McKesson, including McKesson's Medisoft, Lytec and Practice Choice products.