What is e-prescribing and why is it important?


  • Electronic prescribing is the process used by healthcare providers to send prescriptions to a patient’s preferred pharmacy.
  • Electronic prescribing has many benefits, including streamlining the process of getting the prescription at the pharmacy, dispensing the drug, and getting refills.
  • Medical software plays an important role in the adoption and use of electronic prescribing, as the necessary tools are housed in these solutions.
  • This article is for practice owners and healthcare professionals looking to minimize waste and streamline operations through e-prescribing.

Imagine the challenge a pediatrician faces when seeing a new patient and trying to figure out what medications he might take, especially if the patient’s parents haven’t written them down before the appointment. In a case like this, determining which drugs the young patient is taking or might be allergic to becomes increasingly difficult and risky.

This is just one scenario that describes the immediate benefits of electronic prescribing – also known as electronic prescribing – and electronic medical record (EMR) software. These tools are essential features of the best medical software, giving healthcare providers a detailed overview of a patient’s medication history, even if they’ve never seen them before.

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What is electronic prescribing?

E-prescribing is the process by which healthcare providers enter prescribing information into a cloud-based system to send prescriptions to pharmacies in real time. Providers can choose and order prescriptions while seated with a patient, usually with a few clicks. The most commonly used prescriptions can often be added to a library of favorites, allowing providers to quickly retrieve their medications of choice.

Once chosen, the prescription is securely transmitted to the patient’s preferred pharmacy, which can be updated during pick-up or at any other time via the patient portal of the medical software. On the receiving side, when a pharmacy receives a request, it can start filling the prescription immediately. With e-prescription, there is no waste of time or risk of a patient losing their prescription on the way to the pharmacy.

Did you know? Electronic prescribing is just one of the many tools in a medical software suite. To e-prescribe controlled substances, healthcare providers will need to be accredited and approved by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency.

Using e-prescribing to track patient care

Medical software now plays a vital role in the healthcare industry. Initially, medical software was seen simply as a way to digitize a patient’s medical chart and record. Since then, medical software has evolved to handle the exponential increase in the amount of data that modern healthcare providers need to access.

In an effort to improve functionality and encourage healthcare systems to adopt their platforms, vendors have added e-prescribing as a core feature. This is useful because even when new patients come to a doctor’s office for the first time, their digital health record can safely follow. This way, a new provider can see a patient’s medical history at a glance, including any medications they are already taking. [Related: Patient Demographics and Why They’re Important]

Did you know?Did you know? Many leading medical software platforms integrate with Surescripts, a national database of prescription orders and refills. In addition, many providers alert providers if a prescription may have an adverse interaction with another medication a patient is taking.

Electronic Prescribing Software Options

Some of the most popular software options of 2021 offer e-prescribing for healthcare facilities without an EMR system, like Kareo. Our Kareo review describes how the software can be accessed from any device and allows clinicians several useful options, such as saving frequently prescribed medications as favorites.

Other successful companies offer electronic prescribing software that runs as a stand-alone application or integrates with existing EHR platforms. These tools often make it easy to find prescription drugs, check patients’ drug histories, and obtain real-time prescription benefit data. Most also report potentially unwanted interactions and check medications for known allergies in patients.

The advantages of electronic prescribing

The following benefits of electronic prescribing are all reasons to consider implementing medical software in your healthcare organization.

Preventing clerical errors

According to an FDA study, up to 95,000 medication prescribing errors have been made since 2000. One of the major contributing factors to this problem is that many medications sound or have similar spelling. E-prescribing helps clarify this by displaying drug options side-by-side and allowing providers to bookmark their preferred prescriptions.

Complete patient medical records

The second most important benefit of e-prescribing is the data management capabilities it offers. Because medical records are maintained, other healthcare providers can accurately see what prescription drugs a patient is taking and when their last script was completed. Whether it’s making it easier to track prescriptions across multiple pharmacies by states or making it easier for states to integrate into Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs), electronic prescriptions have the potential to redefine conformity.

adviceAdvice: Interested in medical software solutions that offer electronic prescribing and other useful tools? Check out our AdvancedMD review, our athenahealth review, and our DrChrono review to get a feel for what the leading solutions in the market are offering to healthcare organizations.

Referral tools for healthcare providers

E-prescribing provides instant notification of allergies, drug interactions, and duplicate therapies to provide healthcare professionals with the data and actionable information needed to ensure patients are receiving the right medications. Electronic prescriptions also include system alerts that notify healthcare professionals of potential drug interactions and duplicate therapies. [Related: The Benefits of Medical Speech-to-Text]

A key additional benefit of electronic prescribing is the less time pharmacy workers spend calling to verify orders. Accurately written prescriptions save time not only for pharmacy workers, but also for clinicians and staff who need to verify prescriptions.

E-prescribing capabilities allow physicians and healthcare professionals to overcome all of the challenges mentioned at the beginning of this article, and it also makes it easier for them to determine which drugs a new patient is taking, even if the patient is not. remember or did not write them down before the visit.

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