Does e-prescribing save prescription drug costs?

When combined with information about insurer drug formularies, the answer is yes.

Each insurer may have different “preferred” drug choices within a class of medications. When you’re dealing with 10 different insurance companies, that becomes a problem.

Take proton pump inhibitors. Most prefer the generic, omeprazole, and would place it in the lowest co-payment tier. Unbelievably, some insurers prefer Prevacid or Nexium over omeprazole, and thus, these branded medications would be in their preferred tier.

This information is rarely conveniently accessible when prescribing. An e-prescribe system that can be combined with instant formulary information would be tremendously useful, and this Archives of Internal Medicine study showed that doctors who used such a system “could result in annual savings of $845,000 per 100,000 patients.”

Making life easier for doctors is the easiest way to convince them to adopt new technology.


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