When doctors use electronic prescription systems to deliver prescriptions, patients are not only more likely to follow through with the medication course, but also less likely to suffer injuries from filling errors. In fact, new research indicates that the use of electronic prescriptions improves patient adherence to medication programs, thereby contributing to better patient outcomes, and reducing health-care costs by lowering the number of prescription errors.
The researchers went through more than 40 million prescriptions. They found that patient adherence to medication programs is much higher when doctors use electronic prescription tools to hand out prescriptions. The adherence rate was about 10% higher when doctors used electronic prescription systems.
There is a simple enough reason for this. Patients, who get electronic prescriptions are less likely to lose their prescription, or abandon the prescription. Additionally, patients are much more likely to stick to a medication program, when medications are cost-effective. Electronic prescription systems allow a doctor to check the prices of medications before prescribing them. Additionally, electronic prescription systems give a doctor access to other important data like the patient’s insurance status and medication history. This helps the physician make cost-effective prescription decisions for the patient.
These tools also help reduce the incidence of medication errors, by reducing the errors that result from bad handwriting. Many prescription errors or filing errors occur because pharmacists misread prescriptions. With tens of thousands of drugs available in the market, it’s very easy for a pharmacist to misread just one alphabet or the name of a drug, with possibly devastating consequences.
From a practical perspective, there is no reason to not use the electronic prescription systems. Most doctors and hospitals have gone to electronic record keeping and this is just a natural extension of this. I cannot think of a good reason why a doctor would resist this change. While it is probably not below the standard of care at this point to hand write a prescription, at some point in the not too distant future, I think it will be below the standard of care. Of course, the facts of every case are different, but if the drug being prescribed is strong enough and could cause great harm if taken by someone mistakenly or taken in the wrong dosage, or conversely if a patient is in great danger of becoming seriously ill or dying if they do not take the prescribed drug in the correct dosage, I think it would fall below the standard of care to not prescribe the medication with an electronic prescription system. After all, the down side is just too dangerous to risk error.
Robert J. Fleming is an Atlanta prescription error lawyer, helping persons injured by pharmacist malpractice or prescription errors recover compensation for their losses. Mr. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, automobile accident cases, personal injury cases, dental malpractice and medical malpractice lawsuits for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years in and around Atlanta, Georgia and its surrounding areas, including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured and would like quality legal representation, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.