Healthcare News & Insights

E-prescribing slow to catch on, despite benefits

Despite the benefits, most doctors and hospitals have yet to make the switch to electronic prescriptions, according to a recent survey. 

Doctors’ handwriting is commonly joked about, but the consequences of poorly written prescriptions can be serious.

Many problems are caused by issues with handwritten prescriptions, ranging from time wasted sorting out an illegible script to errors that lead to death.

However, adoption of e-prescribing systems has yet to really take off, according to industry experts.

Despite the improvements to patient safety and efficiency, hospitals that have made the switch to e-prescribing software are still in the minority. And many of those that have the capability leave e-prescribing as an option for doctors, rather than require it, according to a recent New York Times article.

Only 36% of prescriptions written in 2011 were done so electronically, according to a soon-to-be-published report from Surescripts, which maintains an e-prescribing network.

Some recent studies have shown that e-prescribing systems can help prevent dangerous and costly prescription errors, including:

  1. A 2010 study from Weill Cornell Medical College, which found a whopping 37 errors out of 100 paper prescriptions written, compared to 7 per 100 electronic prescriptions, and
  2. A study from earlier this year that found patients were more likely to pick up medication when prescriptions were sent electronically.

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