E-Prescribing Software: How Can It Benefit Your Patients and Practice?

Woman talking on the phone while looking at a tablet

E-prescribing software is an electronic health technology designed to help patients receive more accurate and safe prescriptions. In place of handwritten ones, behavioral health providers can send electronic prescriptions (e-prescriptions or e-scripts) to pharmacies. Electronic prescriptions may help reduce the cost of health care, streamline efficiencies, and reduce prescription errors. But what type of e-prescribing software is best for behavioral health, and what features should you look for when evaluating a new vendor? Here's what you need to know.

How Does E-Prescribing Work?

Also known as e-Rx, electronic prescribing is a form of telehealth. E-prescribing software uses a secure connection to send encrypted data over a dedicated transmission network. The pharmacy can fill the medication order as soon as it receives the digital prescription. 

According to the Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP), clinicians can prescribe most medications through telehealth. There are slight differences between states and the federal government regarding the use of technology to prescribe medications. Most states consider a questionnaire sent via email, fax, or messaging inadequate for establishing a patient-provider relationship. 

As e-prescribing evolves, the need for electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) is becoming increasingly important. Compliance with EPCS standards requires a third-party audit to ensure that e-prescribing software meets the requirements of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. It's also important to note that before a clinician can write an e-prescription for controlled substances, most states require a physical examination. However, not all states distinguish between in-person physicals and telehealth examinations.

What Are the Features of Qualified E-Prescribing Software?

Back in 2009, Medicare launched a regulatory program to provide financial incentives for clinicians and prescribers using a qualified e-prescribing system. An e-prescribing system that is "qualified" must perform all the following features and functions:

  • Integrates electronic data into a complete and accurate medication list using data from various data sources
  • Provides prescribing assistance and conducts safety checks for prescribers
  • Uses automated prompts to inform users which drugs they prescribed, the correct dosages, approved routes of administration, possible drug interactions, allergies, FDA warnings, and prescribing variables
  • Informs prescribers and patients about low-cost options if they are appropriate
  • Guides formulary medication information and tier-based drug plans
  • Maintains electronic records of prescription drug authorizations for patients

When looking for an e-prescribing software solution, these features are non-negotiable. ContinuumCloud integrates online prescribing capabilities with comprehensive EHR technology to meet Medicare's e-prescribing requirements.

How Can You Improve the Adoption of E-Scripts in Behavioral Health?

E prescribing software: pharmacist writing on a piece of paper

Despite government payment incentives and the many benefits of e-scripts, several factors may hinder the adoption of e-prescription systems. Lack of technical support, insufficient financial resources, and clinician resistance are potential reasons for hesitancy in adopting e-prescription systems. And despite successful adoption, some clinicians don't maintain it. In one study, clinicians gave the following reasons for de-implementing e-prescribing software:

  • Hardware problems
  • Workflow issues
  • Software problems
  • Miscellaneous problems

One way to improve e-prescribing adoption is to develop a custom solution that fits your organization's goals and improves workflows. For instance, the implementation and onboarding team at ContinuumCloud provides robust training and works to ensure you have all the features you and your patients need.

Why Is Electronic Prescription Software a Good Idea?

E prescribing software: doctor checking a senior man

Both patients and practices can gain benefits from e-prescription technology. Primarily, digital health technology like electronic health record (EHR) systems and e-RX tools save practitioners and pharmacists time and reduce the number of errors they make when writing or transcribing prescriptions by hand. Here are a few ways digital prescriptions may benefit patients and practitioners.

Maximizes Patient Satisfaction 

According to at least one recent survey, most patients (72%) prefer e-prescriptions from healthcare providers, most notably for convenience. And as far back as 2015, older patients indicated that they also preferred digital over hand-written prescriptions, with the overwhelming majority (93%) feeling satisfied with their experience.

Extends Access to Care 

Web and mobile applications have contributed to the rapid development of electronic prescriptions in telemedicine. E-prescribing is a type of telehealth and a way to improve access to care for patients who can’t come into the office when they need a medication change or refill.

Improves Clinician Productivity and Boosts Revenue

E-prescribing software can help save time and improve productivity by streamlining traditional prescribing workflows. And since e-prescribing is a billable telehealth activity, you can use it to increase revenue now.

Reduces Healthcare Costs

E-prescribing has a number of benefits, including lowering costs by reducing medication errors, improving operational efficiency, and increasing productivity. Preventable medical errors affect healthcare costs significantly. As a result of medication errors, adverse drug events (ADEs) can occur, posing a risk to patient safety and increasing health care costs.

Annually, over 770,000 people suffer injuries or die due to ADEs in U.S. hospitals. ADEs are also expensive to treat, with hospital costs ranging from $1.56 billion to $5.6 billion per year. For community hospitals, ADEs can cost between $2,852 and $8,116 per patient. 

Improves Clinical Outcomes

The United States is no stranger to electronic prescriptions. Physicians, patients, and pharmacists have been using it daily for years. While not mandatory in the United States, e-prescribing is essential to value-based care.

You can improve clinical outcomes through digital prescribing as it reduces medication prescribing errors. As defined by the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error and Prevention (NCCMERP), medication errors are preventable events that result in medication misuse or patient harm. As the nation strives to improve the accuracy and efficiency of medication administration, e-prescribing plays a key role.

Which Electronic Prescribing Software Should You Consider?

ContinuumCloud’s unified EHR solution with e-prescribing features helps you work more efficiently, not harder. You can track medications, dosages, drug allergies, medication intolerances, health conditions, and personal characteristics that affect prescribing, like the patient’s height and weight. 

Coupled with customizable EHRs, our e-prescription systems can compile, compare, and maintain detailed medical history derived from multiple sources. The HIPAA-compliant patient portal allows patients to request refills, initiate telehealth, access their medication records, and update their records.

As a cloud-based platform, hardware and software conflicts are not an issue. Unlike standalone software, our system works on any device, including iPad, iPhone, Android, iOS, PC, laptop, and tablet. Using the full practice management suite, you and your staff can transmit prescriptions, obtain prior authorization, and communicate with your patients in real time.

Maximize Revenue and Improve Patient Care With E-Prescribing Software

E prescribing software: man using headphones

There's no going back on the digital transformation in health care. Keeping up with the ever-changing regulatory environment is essential for any behavioral health organization. Ensure your EHR system enables you to safely create and transmit electronic prescriptions so that you can continue to provide high-quality care in compliance with state, federal, and private regulations.

With notable benefits like improved patient safety, streamlined workflows, increased productivity, and reduced healthcare costs, it’s no surprise that electronic prescribing is becoming a key driver for value-based care and increased revenue.

The EHR software from ContinuumCloud has built-in e-prescribing tools with required automated interaction checking, drug safety notifications, access to prescription drug databases, web-based formulary eligibility guidance, insurance pre-authorization, and many more. To learn how we can help you, connect with us today.

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