As our attorneys from Lebowitz and Mzhen, LLC discussed in a recent blog, although e-prescribing usage has increased in recent years, many local doctors claim that the current e-prescribing systems, although helpful for reducing medication errors, can lead to more mistakes in prescribing.
According to Todd Rowland, M.D. and director of medical informatics for Bloomington, Hospital in Indiana, although the majority of electronic health records systems offer electronic prescribing as an option, some still charge a fee to doctors who use the electronic transmissions for prescriptions. In some instances physicians can send the prescriptions by fax for free, but then get charged to send prescriptions electronically. He also said that physicians are on tight time schedules, and systems that are new require additional steps, that are often overlooked.
Rowland also claimed that right now, many e-prescribing systems have unnecessary drug interaction alerts that pop up while a doctor is prescribing. He claims that as doctors have time-sensitive practices, the e-prescribing should provide high quality information, that prevents medication error, but also fits into their practice, without slowing them down.
Last year, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) promoted the switch to electronic prescribing by paying doctors a bonus for e-prescribing. By 2012, doctors who are not e-prescribing with be financially penalized by the federal government. As we reported in a recent blog, President Obama’s economic stimulus this year included over $19 billion for health information technology, to help doctors and hospitals pay for the cost of electronic medical records systems and to help improve the safety, quality and efficiency of healthcare.
According to Gloria Sachdev, PharmD, and professor at Purdue University’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, in the past, the high cost associated with buying electronic health records and electronic prescribing systems was a large deterrent to e-prescribing implementation, but with President Obama’s subsidy incentive, this is no longer the big issue. In order to learn a new system, Doctors now have to reform the manner in which they do things, and change their current systems that are in place—a daunting venture for many. Sachev claimed that the e-prescribing solution lies in reengineering the process, and educating doctors so that the new process can be merged with their work flow.
E-prescription Use Grows, But Some Hurdles Remain, Post-Tribune, August 2, 2010
Even When Physicians Adopt E-prescribing, Use of Advanced Features Lags, Center for Studying Health System Change Press Release, July 22, 2010
Related Web Resources:
Institute of Medicine, (IOM)