December 28, 2020
In these times of pandemic certainty and as the future of healthcare beyond COVID-19 begins to take shape, elevating patient safety has never been more important Access to prescriptions is crucial to the health and success of patients, and electronic prescribing (ePrescribing) allows prescribers and pharmacies to prescribe medications virtually.
“With electronic prescribing, or ‘e-prescribing,’ health care providers can enter prescription information into a computer device – like a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer – and securely transmit the prescription to pharmacies using a special software program and connectivity to a transmission network,” according to The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).
Though ePrescribing is a convenient and affordable method of prescribing medications, it’s not without its risks – and increased interoperability is needed to address those risks.
For ePrescribing services to be as safe as possible, providers and pharmacies need to have access to up-to-date interoperability methods to increase accuracy of patient data and drug usage.
With technology rapidly growing and 2020 bringing healthcare to the forefront, it is sensible that, without technological change, servers will not be able to efficiently organize patient data. EPrescribing takes previous challenges of accurate data and drug usage and relies on new technology to adjust the results.
Research has shown in increased need to reliable prescription information. EHR Intelligence reported that, “researchers audited a random 65 failed prescriptions and found 39 were the result of a mismatched national drug code (NDC). Seventeen failures did not find the targeting prescriber because the prescriber did not have a profile in the platform. The remaining nine failures could not find the targeted patient because the patient did not have a profile on the platform.”
The benefits of ePrescribing include empowering long-term care facilities to safely care for patients, allowing prescribers to effectively communicate with pharmacies to fulfill requests, and ensuring providers can safely administer controlled substances.
The DEA’s EPCS regulation, 21 CFR §1311, requires additional security considerations that ensure the prescriber is authentic and has the necessary certification. In the long run, this could also help reduce some of the wide-spread opioid crisis that United States is facing.
Although ePrescribing adoption has started to accelerate, uptake is not where policymakers want it to be. Levels of ePrescribing use have been lower than expected among those who have adopted the technology. Some barriers of use include a lack of knowledge with integrating new technology. There are more than 100 commercial ePrescribing systems available today, many of which do not have the full set of functionalities required for ePrescribing in Medicare Part D or MIPPA.
Increasing industry collaboration is going to be necessary in order to fully integrate this new way of prescribing. Adaptive policy makers and healthcare business models are crucial in next steps to ensuring a safe drug-prescribing world.