It is true that the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology's 2008 criteria for ambulatory electronic health records requires that a healthcare provider has the option of including the patients diagnosis on the prescription but the word option is the key to this criteria. Including the name of the condition being treated is sometimes required to comply with state formulary restrictions or to help the patient and their family know which medication is for what. So having the option makes sense for patient care.
I agree with the American Medical Association that it should not be a requirement that physicians print the associated diagnosis with each prescription given.
Both patient privacy and an additional burden on physicians speak against this practice. Its one thing to associate a medication with a diagnosis as part of the documentation of the patients care and the patients self-education materials. Its another thing to require it as part of the much more public activity of prescription writing.
Susan Thomas, M.D.Family physicianHealthcare IT consultantCCHIT Ambulatory EHR Work GroupAugusta, MaineTo submit a letter to YOUR VIEWS, click here. Please include your name, title, company and hometown.
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