Subjects: Health IT
They’re handing out free lollipops to all physicians who’ll e-prescribe, so step right up ladies and gentlemen!
Medicare now gives e-prescribin’ docs a bonus. Some private plans give away handheld devices to those who step up, and a tech coalition distributes free software to docs that ditch the pen and pad.
That doubled in one year the number of e-prescribing physicians in the US, to about 70,000 out of the 900,000 or so physicians in the land.
Why the handouts?
Well for one thing, e-prescribing reduces medication errors by checking orders against a list of the patient’s allergies, screening for drug-drug interactions and catching dosing mistakes.
Studies have shown that up to 4% of the 4 billion prescriptions written each year in the US contain errors that pose significant risk to the patient.
“There are more than 1.5 million people hurt every year by preventable medication errors, and the evidence is strong that patients are far better off when we e-prescribe than when we don’t,” Janet Marchibroda, chief executive of eHealth Initiative told the Wall Street Journal.
e-prescribing systems also save money for patients by checking whether low-cost generic alternatives are available in a given prescribing situation.
In addition they make it more likely that patients actually fill their prescriptions by making the process more convenient.
Besides all that, physicians dig ‘em once they get the hang of ‘em.
Now if we can just straighten up those silly Federal drug laws that prohibit e-prescribing controlled substances like narcotics and sleepers, the number of e-prescribin’ physicians might just double again this year.