With the advent of Electronic Health Records, healthcare has taken gigantic strides toward improving patient care coordination and administration.  e-Prescribe (Electronic Prescriptions) has also revolutionized the prescription industry as well.  e-Prescribe has improved medical prescriptions in several key ways, notably:  preventing medical errors (contraindications and interactions), improving drug dispensing and monitoring, as well as giving the medical community through the usage of aggregate data a better understanding of prescription trends and/or problems associated with how we prescribe medications.  e-Prescribe and the ability to gather medical data through our EHRs also affects our understanding of public health as well.  Are we overprescribing certain medications that can lead to unintended morbidity and mortality increases?  Overall, the genesis and evolution of e-Prescribe and EHR have revolutionized the medical industry for the better.

To understand e-Prescribe and its impact on EHR and health outcomes we need to identify ways that it has impacted health care.  Here are five ways that e-Prescribe can help in healthcare.

e-prescribing, prescription drug monitoring,

1. Ease of Participation in Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs

Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) are utilized by Local, State, or Federal government organizations to monitor and analyze the effects of prescription drug abuse on our communities at large.  PDMPs collect, utilize, monitor, and analyze non-descript and obfuscated electronically transmitted prescription data that have been submitted by participating pharmacies and other health care environments.  This data is used for research, educational, and prevention programs purposes to help us fully understand the impact of prescription drugs on our society.  In addition, it also monitors the positive effects that these certain prescriptions can engender as well.  Being able to weigh positives and negatives of all prescribed medications is integral in understanding the overall benefit of prescribing a certain medication or whether certain precautions need to be taken when prescribing a medication. 

2. Gives clinicians more accuracy on determining impact on health

e-Prescribe allows us to record best practices and predictive outcomes when dealing with medications in patients.  Does the efficacy of a certain medication meet our goals?  Are there alternative medications that achieve better results?  These are questions that e-Prescribe can help us answer indirectly.  While each patient is different, we can notice medication prescription trends based on positive patient results.  In addition, this data can also be used as a part of clinical research or other studies to help codify positive health outcomes.

3. Reduces Doctor Shopping

Allows for a history of record of prescriptions given by physician.  It is illegal to see different providers to obtain multiple treatments for the same condition.  Having records electronically of prescriptions lessens the ability and the wanton intention of committing doctor shopping.  Through e-prescribe a digital trail of prescriptions will be left, alerting the pharmacist, state agencies, or federal agencies that abuse of the system may be occurring.

4. Lessens Medical Errors

Whether it be bad handwriting, mistake of patient identity, errors of omission, or simple medical errors, the usage of e-Prescribe has lowered medical errors during the prescription process.  In addition, records are much more intact and accessible in the case of medical review.  Dosage, Strength, Route, Form are much less likely to be misunderstood during the prescription process as well.  The records will be clear, labeled properly with allergy and interaction data, and will also alert the pharmacist or provider of potential side effects, too.

5. Will Play a Vital Role in Combating the Opioid Crisis

In addition to combating doctor shopping, e-Prescribe will allow us several other ways to combat the abuse of opioids.  Whether it be through the EPCS mandates, which helps maintain regulatory and safety parameters for the safe electronic prescribing of controlled substances states are mandated by the federal government to comply with the 2018 Support for Patients and Communities act.  The safe and conservative dispensing of opioids will be key in the fight against opioids and their addictive nature as well as history of abuse.  e-Prescribe will also give us the ability to electronically prescribe other medical remedies that will help lessen the addictive impact opioids have on our population as well. 

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