Monday, February 26, 2007

Getting Your Drugs Faster and More Easily with E-Prescrbing

Recently Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of Illinois announced an E-Prescribing collaborative program that would improve patient safety by spearheading an effort to encourage health plans, pharmacies and various business and patient advocacy groups in Illinois to work together to increase the use of E-prescribing in the State. Blue Cross Blue Shield is also supplying the initial seed funding to provide the digital technology for writing prescriptions to 500 physicians across the State.

The obvious advantage of E-Prescribing is the elimination of errors made by pharmacists in reading the doctors’ notoriously bad handwriting and filling the prescription with the wrong drug or the wrong dosage. E-Prescribing software has the capability to enter modify, review, and communicate drug prescriptions between the doctor or nurse practitioner and the pharmacist. The computer uses its built-in clinical decision support to check on what medications are covered by your health plan; what possible drug-drug interactions might occur among the medications you are currently taking; whether or not the dosage is appropriate; whether or not you might have an allergic reaction to the drug and any other factors that are relevant in the administration of your medication.

Access to this information on the doctor’s computer or PDA, enables your provider to prescribe the right medication, at the right dosage, at the right time, Alternative suggestions are built in, that inform the physician which drug to choose if the initial suggestion is rejected by the health insurer.

When E-Prescribing works correctly you could be sitting in your doctor’s office discussing your health issues while your prescription is on its way to the pharmacy. On your way home you stop at the pharmacy that has your filled prescription ready, along with detailed instructions on how to take the medication; what to look for if you have an adverse reaction; and what your co-payment will be.

Like everything else in healthcare, E-Prescribing does not come without a price tag,– one that most doctors cannot afford to absorb. Other Blues from Massachusetts, to Ohio, to Florida are taking the initiative for E-prescribing, as well they should. They, along with their subscribers, are the ones to realize the most gain in more cost efficient, safer, better prescription drug practice for everyone.

1 comment:

Brent said...

I agree that e-prescribing is a great solution to eliminating prescription errors. The cost will be a barrier for many providers. Until all providers are able to provide this service, consumers can also ask their provider to write the purpose of the medication on the prescription. This takes the physician only seconds but potentially can prevent prescription errors.