Term: Electronic Prescribing

Electronic Prescribing (e-Prescribing) is the use of technology by physicians to communicate directly with pharmacies in order to prescribe medication via electronic messages, eliminating handwritten messages. With the use of e-Prescribing technology, a physician is able to send an accurate and understandable message directly to a pharmacy for the filling of prescriptions.

Handwritten prescriptions are the source of many medication errors with doctors' messages either being miswritten or misread. E-prescribing provides a way to minimize medication errors significantly by keeping prescription orders accurate, understandable, and easy to read. The Institute of Medicine estimated that 1.5 million medication errors could be prevented due to technological health care innovations like e-Prescribing.

Despite its vast benefits, e-Prescribing has gotten off to a slow start due to the expense of implementing an Electronic Prescribing system and the unwillingness of physicians to adopt a new technology. The web-based systems do not need new hardware nor software needs to be purchased. Over 95 percent of all American pharmacies and many insurance formularies are already connected to certain systems.

  • Significantly reduce medical errors by making prescriptions easier to read and less prone to error
  • Less chance of a script being forged preventing possible drug misuse.
  • Reduces the time staff spends on the phone with the pharmacy clarifying and renewing prescriptions.
  • Reduces the time a patient waits for their script to be filled.
  • Creates the ability to track a patients prescription history easily (helpful in detecting people who abuse pharmaceuticals).
  • Prescriptions may be sent to pharmacies any where instantly through the internet.
  • Prescribers can check for harmful drug-allergy and drug-drug interaction

National Efforts:
The National ePrescribing Patient Safety Initiative (NEPSI)

"NEPSI is the kind of collaboration led by innovators in the private sector that can make such a difference in our healthcare system. We all know where we need to go. We know we're going to get to a healthcare system that relies on electronic information and that is much more effective in providing timely and appropriate care. But getting from here to there, getting over that hump is a big challenge. So initiatives like NEPSI ... are an important step in getting us over the hump."
- Mark McClellan, MD, former Administrator of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and Senior Director for Health Care Policy, the White House.

NEPSI is trying to reduce barriers such as ease of use, cost, privacy and security concerns.To do this they are creating an eRX software that is avaliable to American prescribers and physicians.What will this program provide?

NEPSI provides prescribers with technology that puts accurate, easy-to-use drug reference and formulary information at their fingertips to support medication choices. The result is not only increased patient safety but a secure, electronic repository of prescription and patient history.external image insert_table.gif

NEPSI enables increased patient safety by allowing providers to quickly and easily issue electronic prescriptions supported by reviews for allergies, drug-drug interactions, overly high doses, pregnancy-related issues and other patient-specific factors.

eRx NOW is a stand-alone, web-based eRx solution that is easy to implement and fast to use. Through encryption and virus, spyware and malware protection, eRx NOW™ offers prescribers and patients the highest levels of security available.

Web Resources:


How e-Prescribing may look to a Physician while prescribing a medication
How e-Prescribing may look to a Physician while prescribing a medication