A recent study revealed that more than 131 million people, or 66 percent of the adult U.S. population, use prescription drugs. The number of people using at least one prescription drug in the past 30 days is 48.6 percent, while those using three or more prescription drugs are 24 percent. The rise in patients who depend on prescription drugs has also led to a rise in related challenges, including medication errors and overdose. A CDC report reveals nearly 841,000 people died from a drug overdose in the last two decades to 2019.
Most of the prescription challenges could be avoided if health providers and the EHR systems that support incorporate e-prescribe solutions that can tackle these roadblocks. Notably, e-prescribe improves the safety and quality of the prescribing process while relieving the regulatory burden from EHRs, helping them stay compliant without costing an arm and a leg for development. More importantly, successful use of e-prescribing helps demonstrate meaningful use of electronic health records thus enabling health care providers to qualify for federal incentives.
What is Meaningful Use?
The meaningful use concept is a term defined in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It refers to the electronic health record technology used in a meaningful way to store, share, and exchange critical patient information to improve patient care. It has three components:
- Using EHR in a meaningful way, such as e-prescribing
- Using EHR technology to electronically exchange health information to improve the quality of healthcare
- Using EHR technology to report clinical quality and other measures
There is no doubt electronic health records improve patient care outcomes. Consequently, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) offered financial incentive programs to providers to adopt EHR use. One way healthcare providers can demonstrate that they are using EHRs to meet specific objectives set forth by CMS is by incorporating e-prescribing solutions into their operations.
At NewCrop, we offer e-prescribing solutions and a variety of services that support the prescribing process tailored to meet your prescribing needs. In this piece, we share some insights on how e-prescribe helps prescribers achieve meaningful use.
How Does E-Prescribing Help Prescribers Achieve Meaningful Use?
E-prescribing provides the necessary foundation for prescribers to meet meaningful use requirements. Some of the requirements are outlined in three stages:
- Phase 1: requires 40 percent of prescriptions to be sent electronically
- Phase 2: requires over 50 percent of prescriptions to be sent electronically
- Phase 3: requires at least 80 percent of prescriptions to be sent electronically
E-Prescribing offers several benefits for everyone involved in the prescribing process- from the prescriber in the patient room to the pharmacy employees filling patients’ prescriptions, and even to the insurance payer processing claims.
Here is how e-prescribe can help prescribers achieve meaningful use:
Easy Prescription of Controlled Substances
Amidst an ongoing opioid epidemic, EPCS is a key component of electronic prescriptions. Such software enables prescribers to send a prescription for controlled substances to pharmacies using the same process used for prescribing other drugs. Importantly, EPCS adds an extra safety net for patients who need potential addictive substances. Ideally, meaningful use is all about proving that the medications a patient needs are used in a meaningful way, and e-prescribing helps achieve this objective with patients using controlled substances.
Additionally, e-prescribe enables prescribers to track the quantity of controlled substances prescriptions that patients receive, minimizing the risk of over-prescribing and doctor shopping. The platform also enables providers to report clinical quality and other measures in line with one of the three components of EHR.
Want to learn more about EPCS? Download our complete guide for free today.
Reduces Readmission Risks
Up to 20 percent of hospital readmissions are related to adverse drug events (ADE). E-prescription comes with built-in safety measures, including allergy alerts and duplicate therapy alerts that can significantly reduce ADEs.
Full Insights into Previous Medication
With e-prescribe solutions, the prescribers gain full insights into a patient’s previous prescription history. You can get instant notifications on a patient’s allergies, drug interactions, and duplicate therapies at the click of a button. System alerts can also give details on pregnancy and other issues that pose risks with a particular medication.
Managing After-Hours Interruptions
The physicians who provide after-hours refill services can leverage e-prescribe to manage after-hours interruptions. This way, e-prescribing helps physicians achieve meaningful use by enabling them to exchange health information that improves the quality of healthcare even during after-hours. Essentially, e-prescribing technologies enable patients to file access from any location provided there is a reliable internet connection. Doctors can then use the platform to review chart notes and drug reactions before approving a refill or ordering a new mediation remotely.
Reduces Callbacks from the Pharmacies
Fewer telephone calls mean less administrative burden and enhanced office efficiency. Unnecessary telephone calls from the pharmacy are almost entirely associated with poor handwriting, which forces the pharmacist to seek clarifications on dispensing orders. With e-prescription, pharmacists rarely need to contact health care providers to clarify patient instructions or medication quantity. This improves overall satisfaction levels by saving time, money and reducing wait times for the patients at the pharmacy.
Reduces Patient Return Visits
Reducing or eliminating unnecessary patient return visits can lead to massive annual savings. E-prescribing reduces patient visits for the sole purpose of picking a new prescription or refilling an existing one. It also enables prescribers to determine whether and when a patient should be seen and when renewing a prescription without a visit is prudent.
Coverage and Cost
Studies reveal patients tend to comply more with medication therapy when the prescribed drugs are affordable to them. Typically, some E-prescribing programs allow the prescriber to choose generic medications covered by the patient’s insurance. Patients who incur fewer costs tend to be more compliant with the recommended drug therapy.
Minimized Prescription Errors
Data from the FDA reveals more than 95 000 prescription drug errors have been reported since 2000. A huge contributor to these errors is drugs that have similar spelling or similar pronunciation. The consequences of dug errors on patients’ health and life can be huge. However, by leveraging E-prescribe, you will always feel assured you have given the patient the correct medication.
So, What Does this Mean?
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 mandated all public and private healthcare providers and other Eligible Professionals to demonstrate meaningful use of electronic medical records by January 1, 2014. Failure to comply may result in forfeiture of existing Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements levels. From then, the use of electronic medical and health records have gained momentum across the US and elsewhere.
Industry-Leading Integrated Electronic Prescribing Services
There is no doubt one of the key benefits of E-prescribing is that it provides additional patient safety measures. E-prescribing solutions empower providers to see prescription histories and reconcile medications at the point of care for improved safety and better outcomes.
Are you an EHR provider looking for a (new) e-prescribe vendor? Schedule a demo today to see how partnering with NewCrop could make your software offering more effective and efficient.