E-Prescribing: Fast, Convenient and Safer
As the health manager of your family, you’re probably used to having to drop off prescriptions at your pharmacy. But did you know that many prescribing providers are starting to make the switch from using the standard prescription pad to electronic prescribing?
Instead of writing out your prescription on a piece of paper, your doctor, physician assistant and/or nurse enters it directly into his or her computer. The prescription is then sent from your doctor’s computer to the pharmacy’s computer, saving you the extra trip to the pharmacy to drop off the paper prescription.
By sending prescription requests directly to the pharmacy, you have a head start in getting your medicines filled. Your health team can also more easily monitor your medications and even select drugs that are covered by your family’s health plan. But even more important, e-prescribing can improve the safety and convenience of prescribing medicines.
Unfortunately, the sheer volume of prescription drug orders (did you know that four out of five Americans who visit a doctor leave with a prescription?) means mistakes happen. In fact, studies suggest more than 1.5 million Americans are hurt each year by preventable medication errors.
Electronic prescribing, or e-prescribing, can help prevent some medication errors and gives pharmacists, doctors and nurses access to immediate, more complete information about your medical and medication history and can alert them to potential problems such as drug allergy. So, e-prescribing can lead to safer, more informed prescribing so that patients get the care that best fits their needs. This technology is especially helpful if you, your partner, parent or child have chronic illness or are recovering from surgery and take multiple medicines.
||Fast – Your prescription arrives at your pharmacy before you leave your doctor’s office.
||Convenient – You don’t have to make that extra trip to drop off your prescription at the pharmacy.
||Legible – There is no handwriting for the pharmacist to interpret.
For more information, visit www.LearnAboutEprescriptions.com. The site also allows you to plug in your zip code to find pharmacies in your area that accept e-prescriptions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Will my prescription be ready when I arrive at the pharmacy?
A: Because the prescription is sent electronically before you leave your doctor’s office, there’s a chance it might be ready when you arrive at the pharmacy, but this isn’t always the case. The time needed to prepare your prescription can be affected by several factors, including the number of prescriptions in the pharmacy’s computer, how quickly you arrive at the pharmacy after your doctor’s visit, and how many people are already waiting at the pharmacy. It’s a good rule of thumb to allow one to two hours before going to the pharmacy to pick up your prescription.
Q: Can my doctor send my prescription to any pharmacy I choose?
A: Yes. More than 70% of community pharmacies in the U.S. currently accept e-prescriptions, and more are doing so every day. If you do not want your prescription sent electronically, or your pharmacy does not yet accept e-prescriptions, your doctor will print your prescription for you.
Benefits of E-Prescribing
- Saves you a trip to the pharmacy to drop off written prescriptions.
- Creates standard electronic format for prescription information, helping to cut down on the likelihood of dangerous and sometimes deadly medication errors due to illegible handwriting, unclear instructions or orders.
- Makes the refill process easier to track and process.
- Saves your family money by allowing care providers to select medicines that are covered by your health insurance plan.
- May provide opportunities for earlier and better patient-doctor communication about medicines.
Q: Are there laws governing the privacy of E-Prescriptions?
A: The privacy of your personal health information contained in all your prescriptions, whether written or electronic, is protected by a federal law and state laws. The federal law is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HIPAA requires that your personal health information be shared only for the purpose of providing you with clinical care. E-prescriptions meet this requirement.
Q: How can I find out if my doctor uses E-Prescriptions?
A: Visit www.LearnAboutEprescriptions.com to see which physicians are e-prescribing in your community. Or just ask your doctor. Doctors who are not writing e-prescriptions and would like more information can visit www.GetRxConnected.com.