Historically, the last mile in electronic prescribing has been the connection between physicians and other prescribers and the next handoff in the chain—either pharmacies or mail-order pharmacy benefits managers.
Hurdles remain for e-prescribing: study
A study by the Center for Studying Health System Change indicates that a bit of roadwork remains along that last mile before e-prescribing will be bump-free from end to end.
A nine-page report, Transmitting and Processing Electronic Prescriptions: Experiences of Physician Practices and Pharmacies (PDF), based on the study and published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, concludes that improvements are needed to the structure of the national e-prescribing design targeting mail-order pharmacy connectivity and technical standards. Additional training of physicians and pharmacists may also be needed to improve e-prescribing use.
"Practices and pharmacies generally were satisfied with electronic transmission of new prescriptions but reported that the electronic renewal process was used inconsistently, resulting in inefficient work-arounds for both parties," according to the report authors. "Practice communications with mail-order pharmacies were less likely to be electronic than with community pharmacies because of underlying transmission network and computer system limitations. While e-prescribing reduced manual prescription entry, pharmacy staff frequently had to complete or edit certain fields, particularly drug name and patient instructions."
The study was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and was based on 114 interviews conducted in 2010 at 24 physician practices, 48 community pharmacies and three mail-order pharmacies.
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