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A Practical Primer on E-Prescribing

Electronic prescribing is the term used to describe the electronic exchange of prescription and medication history information, computer-to-computer, between prescribers, pharmacies and insurance payers/pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Prescriptions are prepared using certified E-Prescribing software run through a computer, EHR, or mobile device (such as a handheld mobile device) and then electronically transmitted through a secure network to the patient’s choice of pharmacy to be filled. In turn pharmacies can send requests for prescription refills to prescribers where they can be reviewed and responded to without the need for fax or phone communication.

E-Prescribing can also allow physicians and other prescribers to access clinical decision support information such as patient medication history, formulary, and eligibility information to help inform prescribing decisions. E-Prescribing can be done using a standalone E-Prescribing application, or as part of an EHR.

Benefits of E-Prescribing

E-Prescribing gives physicians and other prescribers the potential to access and use information such as patient medication history and prescription benefit information (formulary and eligibility) to support clinical decisions about drug therapies. Prescribers use this information to perform more robust drug-drug interaction alerts, drug-allergy interaction alerts, and to prescribe medication that complies with a patient’s drug benefit. By having more comprehensive and accurate information at the time of prescribing, the practice can improve the quality of care, potentially increase adherence, and also reduce the number of call backs from the pharmacist to clarify prescription information. By managing the prescription refill authorization process electronically, practices can save time and improve efficiency while allowing medication to be delivered in a timelier manner to patients.

Pharmacies benefit from an E-Prescribing connection by spending less time interpreting handwriting or re-keying information into their computer systems. And, because prescribers have more information available at the time of prescribing, there is a lower chance that a pharmacy will need to initiate a call back to the practice to clarify prescription information.

The following guides are provided by the American College of Physicians.

The following information is provided by Surescripts® to assist physicians and practices with the adoption and use of E-Prescribing tools.

  1. Clinicians Guide to E-Prescribing — Developed by The Center for Improving Medication Management, this guide provides a comprehensive roadmap for prescribers that are looking to acquire and implement E-Prescribing in their practices.
  2. Buyers Guide — A guide to selecting E-Prescribing technology that is developed from a practice perspective.
  3. MIPPA Fact Sheet — An overview of the Medicare E-Prescribing Incentive program, which provides additional reimbursement for doctors that demonstrate use of this technology.
  4. Best Practices — A set of best practices to help practices think about and support their implementation of e-prescribing. 
  5. Support Protocol — If issues do arise with e-prescribing, it may be due to one or both of the issues outlined in this document. Please use it to understand the proper protocol for dealing with — and reporting — these issues if and when they occur.
  6. E-Prescribing “Quick Start” Guide — This guide is a basic “what is E-Prescribing” document designed to be a leave behind for a prescriber’s office.
  7. Peer Perspectives on E-Prescribing — Examples of E-Prescribing implementations at a variety of practices are documented along with best practices that reflect these individual experiences.

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