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Updated Apr 11, 2024

What is E-Prescribing? Why It’s Important for Healthcare Providers

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Carlos Soto, Contributing Writer

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Imagine the challenge a pediatrician faces when seeing a new patient and trying to determine what medications they might be taking, especially if the patient’s parents didn’t write them down before the appointment. In such a case, determining the medications the young patient is on or might be allergic to becomes increasingly difficult and risky. 

This is just one scenario that describes the immediate benefits of electronic prescribing — also called e-prescribing — and electronic medical record (EMR) software. These tools are essential features of the best medical software solutions, offering healthcare providers a detailed look into a patient’s medication history even if they’ve never seen them before.

Editor’s note: Looking for the right EMR service for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

What is e-prescribing?

E-prescribing is the process by which healthcare providers enter prescription information into a cloud-based system to send prescriptions to pharmacies in real time. Providers can choose and order prescriptions while sitting with a patient, usually with just a few clicks. 

The most commonly used prescriptions can often be added to a favorites library, allowing providers to quickly pull up their go-to medications. Once chosen, the prescription is securely transmitted to the patient’s preferred pharmacy, which can be updated during intake or at any other time through the medical software’s patient portal. 

When a pharmacy receives a request, it can begin filling the prescription right away. With e-prescribing, there is no time wasted or any risk of a patient losing their prescription on the way to the pharmacy.

Did You Know?Did you know
E-prescribing is just one of many tools to consider when you're choosing medical software. To e-prescribe controlled substances, healthcare providers must be credentialed and receive approval from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Using e-prescribing to track patient care

Medical software now plays a critical role in the healthcare industry. Initially, medical software was simply seen as a way to digitize patient charts and records. However, today, medical software has evolved to manage the exponential increase in data modern healthcare providers must access.

To improve functionality and encourage healthcare systems to adopt their platforms, medical software vendors have added e-prescribing as a core feature. This helpful function allows digital healthcare records to follow patients when they switch to new medical practices. Providers can see a new patient’s patient demographics and medical history, including their current medications.

Did You Know?Did you know
Many of the best medical software platforms integrate with Surescripts, a nationwide database of prescription orders and refills.

E-prescribing software options

Some of the most popular medical software options offer e-prescribing for healthcare organizations without an EMR system. Many top performers offer e-prescribing software that runs as a stand-alone application or integrates with existing platforms. These tools make it easy to find prescription medications, check patient drug histories, and get real-time prescription benefit data. Most also flag potentially adverse interactions and check medications against known patient allergies.

The best medical software with e-prescribing features

The medical software platforms highlighted below offer robust features and functions, including e-prescribing capabilities. 

  • Tebra: Our Tebra review describes how the software is accessible from any device and gives clinicians several helpful options, such as saving frequently prescribed medications as favorites.
  • AdvancedMD: As you’ll see in our AdvancedMD review, this platform flags dangerous medication interactions and displays cost and benefit information based on patient data or formularies.
  • athenahealth: When you read our athenahealth review, you’ll see that e-prescribing, diagnoses and labs are among the electronic orders available while you’re taking notes during patient encounters.
  • DrChrono: Our DrChrono review details this vendor’s highly user-friendly iOS e-prescribing solutions and ability to save individual providers’ favorite prescriptions and pharmacies.

The benefits of e-prescribing

The following benefits of e-prescribing are all reasons to consider implementing medical software in your healthcare organization.

  • E-prescribing helps prevent clerical errors. According to the medical resource StatPearls, prescription drug errors lead to 7,000 to 9,000 U.S. deaths per year. A major contributing factor to this problem is that many drugs sound similar or have similar spellings. E-prescribing helps clear up confusion by displaying medication options side by side and allowing providers to favorite their preferred prescriptions.
  • E-prescribing helps keep patient medical records current. Because medical records are retained, other healthcare providers can see precisely which prescription medications a patient takes and when their script was last filled.
  • E-prescribing helps states track prescriptions. Electronic prescriptions have the potential to redefine compliance. They make it easier for states to track prescriptions across multiple pharmacies and help states more easily integrate into prescription drug monitoring programs.
  • E-prescribing helps providers give the right medicines. E-prescribing provides instant notification of allergies, drug interactions and duplicate therapies, providing health professionals with the data and actionable intelligence needed to ensure patients receive the right medicines. 
  • E-prescriptions warn providers about drug interactions. Electronic prescriptions include system alerts that inform healthcare professionals of potential drug interactions and duplicate therapies. [Read related article: The Benefits of Medical Speech-to-Text]
  • E-prescriptions can be filled quickly. With e-prescribing, pharmacy employees spend less time calling to verify orders. This also saves time for clinicians and staff who don’t have to verify prescriptions with pharmacy personnel.
  • E-prescribing helps providers welcome new patients. Because of e-prescription capabilities, medical providers can quickly determine all of the medications a new patient is taking, even if the patient can’t remember or didn’t write them down before the visit.
Did You Know?Did you know
There are roughly 6,800 prescription and over-the-counter medications available in the U.S. Using e-prescribing software makes it much easier to prescribe medications without endangering your patients.

From your phone to the pharmacy

E-prescribing is equally possible from a clinician’s computer and phone. Mobile e-prescribing, in particular, is a powerful way to care for your patients no matter where you are and what you’re doing. It’s at the forefront of modern medical care, and your practice will only benefit from implementing it. The best part is that it’s a standard feature of modern medical software, the backbone of your practice’s success. E-prescribing simply adds to that picture.

Max Freedman contributed to this article.

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Carlos Soto, Contributing Writer
After an award winning career as a technology writer with the Washington Post Company, Carlos received his MBA from Rice University and graduated from the prestigious Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Executive Leadership Program, as Vice President within Global Technology and Operations. Throughout his executive career, Carlos has led initiatives geared towards integrating customer facing and employee facing technology solutions within finance, oil and gas and the high tech sectors.
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