Electronically prescribing medications has been heavily pushed and marketed to both physician offices and pharmacies.
But in some cases, it’s not working out as planned. The Angry Pharmacist unloads on the initiative, noting that it costs pharmacies 30 cents to receive each electronic prescription. Multiply that by the thousands of requests they process, and it adds up. Furthermore, despite the marketing hype, ePrescribe “provides absolutely no cost or time savings for pharmacies or pharmacists,” since any errors in typing or if a doctor wants to change anything on the refill will cost the pharmacy another 30 cents.
And worse, the gains in patient safety are dubious, as Mr. Angry has “seen more errors, decimal point, and unit [screw]ups via SureScript eRx in one week than years of paper prescriptions.”
But how are things from the doctor’s viewpoint? Not much better.
Doctor Grumpy (there sure are a lot of unhappy health care bloggers) also reports numerous problems about the amount of time it takes to send a prescription over the internet, and the fact that pharmacies continue to send refill requests for controlled drugs.
I use ePrescribe, and for the most part, it works adequately. But there are some cases where pharmacies redundantly send refills for drugs I have already refilled, or as Doctor Grumpy notes, requests for controlled substances.
Both issues waste the pharmacy’s money, and only adds to the profit of the ePrescribe vendor.