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6 Common e-Prescribe Errors [and How to Solve for Them]

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Electronic prescriptions have revolutionized the healthcare industry. E-prescribe technology has saved time and money for both patients and practices. Compared to “old school” handwritten prescriptions, electronic prescribing substantially reduces the number of errors made by practitioners and pharmacists.

However, e-prescribe is far from perfect. In fact, many practices struggle with the new set of issues that the software brings about. Thankfully, these setbacks don’t have to set back your practice. We’ve managed to troubleshoot some of the most common causes of e-prescribe errors, so you can stop tearing out your hair and keep caring for patients.

Learn more about how NewCropRx solves e-prescribe accuracy issues. Contact us to chat with one of our knowledgeable team members about solutions that are best for your practice.

1. Missing Information and Inaccuracies

While e-prescribe software reduces the errors made when writing a prescription, accuracy is not 100% guaranteed. A doctor may forget to add necessary information or choose the wrong drug from a drop-down menu.

It takes much longer for the pharmacist to deal with inaccuracies and missing information in e-prescriptions than with their handwritten counterparts. On average, it takes between 5 and 10 minutes to solve e-prescription inaccuracies, thus keeping patients in the pharmacy longer, which adds to their frustration and anxiety.

Solution: The majority of inaccuracies occur due to poorly designed e-prescribe software. System failures and technology inconsistencies cause errors and misunderstandings. By opting for a well-designed e-prescribe software, especially one with a user-friendly interface or one that seamlessly integrates into your EHR, you can reduce inaccuracies and avoid missing information.

2. Auto-Filling and Suggestions

To simplify e-prescribing and save time, e-prescribe software usually incorporates auto-filling and suggestion options. Though helpful, this feature is often the reason for prescription errors. With many similarly spelled drug names, it‘s easy for a doctor to make a mistake and choose an incorrectly suggested option.

Additionally, when the doctor enters the drug name, the system may auto-fill the frequently prescribed dosage. Patients who need a new or customized dosage may end up with the wrong quantity.

Moreover, if a pharmacist misses the problem, such errors could lead to issues with insurance companies. As a result, many pharmacists double check e-prescriptions, nullifying the time-saving benefit of electronic prescribing.

Solution: Doctors shouldn’t rely entirely on the program to fill out parts of the prescription for them. Think of it like a spelling corrector. You don’t want the automation’s assumptions to cause you to make a mistake.

3. Drug and Patient Mismatches

Pharmacists often face problems with filling prescriptions that have drug and patient names written differently than they are in their system. For example, the doctor enters “Judy Smith” instead of “Judith Smith” or “AMH” instead of “amiloride hydrochloride.”

The pharmacist would need to spend extra time cross-referencing information, trying to find the right drug or patient. In many cases, it would mean deleting information from the system and re-entering it. This too keeps your patients at the pharmacy longer than they need to be. In the worst case, such mismatches could lead to the patient taking home the incorrect medication.

Solution: To avoid problems with abbreviations and name mismatches, it’s imperative to synchronize the prescriber’s and the pharmacy’s systems. Otherwise, pharmacists may need to print the e-prescription out and re-enter the information into their systems.

4. Refill Errors

As touched on above, when a patient requires a refill, the software tends to carry the information over from the initial prescription. A doctor may miss obsolete and incorrect data, thus providing the patient with a wrong prescription.

Solution: E-prescribe software needs to be designed to avoid carrying over information from old prescriptions. It should also point the prescriber’s attention to fields that need to be re-checked.

5. Cancellation Issues

When pressed for time, prescribers can make errors while entering drug information into an electronic prescription. If they catch the error and delete the wrong prescription from their system after signing, it may not automatically disappear from the pharmacist’s system.

As a result, a patient may get either the wrong drug or an extra medication. In both cases, such errors could have a negative effect on the course of treatment.

Solution: Again, synchronizing the prescriber’s and pharmacy’s software is imperative to streamlining the cancellation process.

6. Excessive Reliance

Prescribers who have experience with their systems tend to rely on it to make catch their mistakes. As a result, they tend to put too much trust in it and not double-check their prescriptions. Ever found a typo even after trusting spell check to catch your mistakes?

While allowing the program to make corrections is useful, excessive reliance could lead to serious consequences.

Solution: E-prescribe software should have a sophisticated system of alerts that points doctors’ attention to possible issues, but ultimately lets them decide. However, too many alerts could lead to alert fatigue and the doctor may ignore corrections entirely. That’s why a great e-prescribe solution should be keyed into the human element, and maintain a delicate balance between alerts and automation.

Human Errors are Unavoidable

The majority of problems with e-prescribe software are due to human error. Similar to handwritten prescriptions, electronic prescriptions require the prescriber’s close attention. It’s imperative to create a delicate balance between automation and manual data handling to achieve an error-free prescribing environment.

While it is possible to adjust the software to deal with some e-prescribe errors, it’s more important to teach prescribers how to use it properly and use it with care. Otherwise, no matter how efficient the system is, doctors will continue making mistakes. This is why it’s crucial to have an intuitive software and a support team that is always ready to train and facilitate staffs with further learning.

Reducing the Number of e-Prescribing Errors

No solution is ever perfect. While reducing the number of errors made while hand writing prescriptions, e-prescribing has generated new ones. Luckily, practitioners need not fear. Most can be reduced simply by accounting for the human element, investing in software designed to preempt these issues and by double checking the electronic prescriptions.

Being aware of the errors that can arise from e-prescribing software helps your team maximize their use of it, mastering the technology and making patient care more efficient and effective than ever.

If you’d like to learn more about NewCropRx and how it can improve e-prescription accuracy, contact us today for a live demo.