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Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield study estimates e-prescriptions could save money and lives

July 16, 2010 By: Nadia Category: HealthCare, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

www.Medtipster.com Source: The Post Standard – by Charley Hannagan – 7.14.2010

A study released Tuesday estimates that 35 deaths a year could be prevented in Upstate New York if more doctors sent prescriptions electronically to pharmacies.

Yet, less than a quarter of the doctors nationally, and in Upstate, e-prescribe.

The study by Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield shows that 24.3 percent of doctors and 20.6 percent of physicians assistants in Upstate electronically send prescriptions to pharmacies, called e-prescriptions. In Central New York, the number drops to 21.8 percent of doctors and 17.3 percent of physician assistants.

E-prescribing is important to keep patients safe, prevent prescription forgeries, save money and make the system more efficient, said Dr. Arthur Vercillo, of Excellus.

“You can try and write as neatly as possible on a prescription form, but the call-backs (from pharmacists seeking clarification) still come in,” he said.

The study estimates that if all doctors sent e-prescriptions, and acted on the alerts provided about drug interactions, it would prevent 35 deaths, 161 permanent disabilities, 391 emergency room visits and 449 hospitalizations.

If doctors followed the generic prescription recommendations that pop up when they e-prescribe just 1 percent of the time, it could cut health care spending in Upstate by $64 million, Vercillo said.

The federal government is encouraging doctors to computerize patient medical records to make the system more efficient. E-prescribing is one part of that.

The federal government offers incentives to doctors to e-prescribe.

Excellus also offers an incentive to doctors to e-prescribe as a part of a package of incentives, Vercillo said.

Yet only about 25 percent of doctors nationally e-prescribe even though 85 percent of the pharmacies nationwide can accept e-prescriptions, according to Excellus.

Among other advantages are it allows doctors to retrieve a patient’s prescription history, it prevents forgeries and patients from going to many different doctors for the same prescription and it allows doctors to see a patient’s insurance coverage for drugs.

E-Prescriptions Versus Handwritten Prescriptions

February 09, 2010 By: Tylar Masters Category: Medicine Advice

Many prescriptions are transmitted electronically, however, does this mean your privacy and safety are at risk? Or is this a safer, more secure and more beneficial method of prescribing medications?

With the age of technology and electronic, well, everything, we’re seeing a lot of changes in every day life, and in every day business. We’ve seen newspaper circulations drop, paper mail decrease, and who doesn’t have an email address or a home computer?

Your physician’s office most likely has an electronic version of your medical records by now, instead of the old school manilla folders. If not, trust me, it will happen sooner versus later. There are a lot of benefits to this method, the biggest being saving trees and helping the environment. Let’s take a closer look at how this may affect the one piece of paper you typically walk out the physician’s office door with – a prescription.

E-prescriptions are the same as the hand written prescription, only computer generated by your physician. The electronic prescription is sent directly to the pharmacy of your choice. Privacy has been a key concern for many patients with this change in how prescriptions are handled, however, rest assured that the network (transmitting) between your physician’s computer and your pharmacy is a secured and private route.

E-prescribing is more efficient and is faster in most cases. Most of the time, your prescription arrives at your pharmacy before you leave your doctor’s office. It doesn’t always mean it will be ready for you when you arrive, as sometimes pharmacies are busy or you arrive before the pharmacist has had time to fill the script. But, you won’t be waiting around the pharmacy or having to leave and come back. Plus the risk of errors with traditional hand written prescriptions is almost obsolete with e-prescriptions.

Also, remember that all e-prescriptions meet the requirements of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Your medical history has always contained the record of your prescription, and it being electronic or hand written makes no difference. All medical and prescription information is protected by federal and state laws.

If you have questions about your prescription, your physician or pharmacist will be able to address your concerns. Specific questions about e-prescriptions can be answered by either professional as well. Remember if you’re unsure which pharmacy has your prescription at the lowest cost available, tell your exit nurse at your physician’s office to use Medtipster.com to find the pharmacy to transmit your e-prescription.

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