Low rates of medication adherence have traditionally been a major strain on the medical economy. According to a 2009 study published by the New England Healthcare Institute, roughly one third to one half of patients in the United States do not take medication as prescribed by their doctor. This, in turn, leads to the worsening of diseases that could have been prevented, and as much as $100 billion a year in extra costs for medical facilities due to increased hospitalizations that could have been avoided.
However, a recent study published by Surescripts, America's largest eprescribing network, found that eprescribing electronic medical software could help solve the non-adherence problem, and save $140 billion to $240 billion over the next 10 years.
According to a press release on the study, Surescripts analyzed more than 40 million prescription records and found that doctors prescribing even 40 percent of patient medication electronically saw a steady 10 percent increase in patients' first-fill medication adherence when compared to paper, phone and fax prescriptions.
Additionally, the study isolated two factors that lead to improper medication use. First, a certain number of non-electronic prescription orders are lost before they reach the pharmacy. This problem is addressed with eprescription orders that are delivered instantly to the appropriate medical practitioner. Second, the study found that patients often fail to pick up their prescriptions because they do not realize how expensive they will be. But, with more data available to doctors, the release states a more "clinically appropriate" prescription can be ordered, reducing the price patients need to pay out of pocket.
The study did acknowledge that eprescriptions have a higher abandonment rate than non-electronic prescriptions, but the researchers say that is because the data reflects a much larger sample due to the fact that eprescriptions always make it to the pharmacist.
Small medical facility managers hoping to cut costs and improve patient care with eprescribing would benefit from enlisting the services of a certified medical technology consulting company that can help ease the transition to a new prescription system with detailed implementation and staff training.
Microwize Technology is a leading healthcare IT consultant offering products such as electronic medical records software and medical billing software from top providers like Allscripts and McKesson, including McKesson's Medisoft, Lytec and Practice Choice products.