Four Ways To Improve Your Practice’s E-Prescribing
By David Doolittle

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E-prescribing has become commonplace in most practices, but, as with most new technology, there are still lessons to be learned to improve the quality of electronic prescriptions.

The e-prescribing health information network Surescripts recommends you keep the following things in mind to get e-prescriptions right the first time: 

  • Medication selection. Make sure that the drug identifier and the medication description match.
  • Dosage instructions. Using free text fields for notes can create confusion if they don’t match information selected in drop-down menus or structured fields.
  • Formulary information. Check with your electronic health record (EHR) or e-prescribing vendor to see if they have the capability to provide prior authorization and patient-specific formulary information giving medication cost. Patients frequently cannot afford many of today’s high-priced medications, so knowing the cost and talking to your patient about the cost as you write the prescription will increase patient compliance and reduce calls from the pharmacy.  
  • Prescription modifications. Learn how your EHR or e-prescribing software handles prescription replacements or modifications so you understand how the changes will be communicated to the pharmacy. Does the pharmacist see that the prescription has been modified, canceled, or replaced? By understanding the process and taking the appropriate steps, you can help increase patient safety and efficient communication.  

Those tips and more can be found in a recent article from Surescripts, “The Perfect Prescription: Obstacles And Opportunities On The Path To Higher Quality And Lower Costs.”

You can find more information on how to avoid problems with prescribing in How Health Information Technology Can Facilitate Safer Opioid Prescribing, published by the Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety. The partnership is a multi-stakeholder collaborative that includes the Texas Medical Association, and whose goal is to make health information technology safer.

In addition, learn how to improve the quality of your e-prescriptions and errors via the TMA webinar e-Prescribing Quality: Getting It Right the First Time. It’s free to TMA members thanks to a generous sponsorship from TMA Insurance Trust.

If you have e-prescribing questions, contact TMA's Health Information Technology Department at (800) 880-5720 or HIT@texmed.org.

Last Updated On

February 26, 2019

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David Doolittle

Editor

(512) 370-1385

Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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