Helping Patients With E-Prescribing


With the objective of improving the quality of patient care, sending a prescription electronically directly from the point-of-care to a pharmacy in an understandable, accurate and error-free form is the called E-Prescribing.

The Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) of 2003 included electronic prescribing which boosted its development. Later in a report in July 2006, the Institute of Medicine stressed the importance of e-prescribing in reducing medication errors. This got widespread publicity, and built awareness of e-prescribing in the masses for its role in patient safety.

In the United States, the government plans to standardize and facilitate e-prescribing to build a national electronic health information infrastructure.


An e-prescribing system should perform the following functions:

  1. Generate a comprehensive medication list, which incorporates the data from applicable drug plans, if available.

  2. Select medication, print prescription, electronically transmit a prescription, conduct safety checks using integrated decision support system (such as information on drug, inappropriate dose or route of administration, interactions with other drugs, allergy or other warnings and remarks).

  3. Fetch information of medication or product at a lower cost, or any available therapeutically appropriate alternative

  4. Get information on tiered formulary medications, eligibility of patient and the authorization requirement of drug plan.

  5. Review medication history information and current medication list of a patient.

  6. Patient-specific information (e.g., patient identification, patient education, patient historical data, patient medication list).

  7. Operate upon a medication within practice. It may involve viewing medication details, remove or renew a medication if required, change the dosage etc.

  8. Add or prescribe new medication.

  9. Select the pharmacy where the prescription will be expedited.

  10. Update information to the Transaction Hub, from where patient information is sent back to the prescriber.

  11. Technical integration capabilities (e.g., connect to different databases, connect with pharmacy and pharmacy benefit manager systems).

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