What Is E-Prescribing and Why Is It Important?


  • E-prescribing is the process healthcare providers use to send prescriptions to a patient’s preferred pharmacy.
  • There are many benefits of e-prescribing, including streamlining the process of getting the prescription to the pharmacy, dispensing the medication and obtaining refills. 
  • Medical software plays an important role in the adoption and use of e-prescribing, as the tools needed are housed within these solutions.
  • This article is for practice owners and healthcare professionals looking to minimize waste and streamline operations with e-prescribing. 

Imagine the challenge a pediatrician faces when seeing a new patient and trying to determine what medications they might be taking, especially if the patient’s parents didn’t write them down before the appointment. In a case like this, determining the medications the young patient is on or might be allergic to becomes increasingly difficult and risky. 

This is just one scenario that describes the immediate benefits of electronic prescribing – also called e-prescribing – and electronic medical record (EMR) software. These tools are essential features of the best medical software, offering healthcare providers a detailed look into the medication history of a patient, even if they’ve never seen them before.

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What is e-prescribing?

E-prescribing is the process by which healthcare providers enter prescription information into a cloud-based system to send prescriptions to pharmacies in real time. Providers can choose and order prescriptions while sitting with a patient, usually in just a few clicks. The most commonly used prescriptions can often be added to a favorites library, which allows providers to quickly pull up their go-to medications.

Once chosen, the prescription is securely transmitted to the patient’s preferred pharmacy, which can be updated during intake or at any other time through the medical software’s patient portal. At the receiving end, when a pharmacy receives a request, it can begin filling the prescription right away. With e-prescribing, there is no time wasted or any risk of a patient losing their prescription on the way to the pharmacy.

Did you know?Did you know? E-prescribing is just one of many tools in a medical software suite. To e-prescribe controlled substances, healthcare providers will need to be credentialed and receive approval from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Using e-prescribing to track patient care

Medical software now plays a critical role in the healthcare industry. Initially, medical software was simply seen as a way to digitize a patient’s medical chart and record. Since then, medical software has evolved to manage the exponential increase in the amount of data modern healthcare providers require access to.

In an effort to improve functionality and encourage healthcare systems to adopt their platforms, vendors have added e-prescribing as a core feature. This is useful because even when new patients come to a medical practice for the first time, their digital healthcare record can securely follow. This way, a new provider can see at a glance a patient’s medical history, including the medications they are already taking. [Read related article: Patient Demographics and Why They’re Important]

Did you know?Did you know? Many leading medical software platforms integrate with Surescripts, a nationwide database of prescription orders and refills. Additionally, many warn providers if a prescription might have an adverse interaction with another medication a patient is taking.

E-prescribing software options

Some of the most popular software options of 2021 offer e-prescribing for healthcare organizations without an EMR system, such as Kareo. Our Kareo review describes how the software is accessible from any device and allows clinicians several helpful options like saving frequently prescribed medications as favorites. 

Other top performers offer e-prescribing software that either runs as a stand-alone application or integrates with existing EHR platforms. These tools often make it easy to find prescription medications, check patient drug histories and get real-time prescription benefit data. Most also flag potentially adverse interactions as well as check medications against known patient allergies.

The benefits of e-prescribing

The following benefits of e-prescribing are all reasons to consider implementing medical software in your healthcare organization.

Prevention of clerical errors

According to an FDA study, as many as 95,000 prescription drug errors have been made since 2000. A major contributing factor to this problem is that many drugs sound similar or have similar spellings. E-prescribing helps clear this up by displaying medication options side by side and allowing providers to favorite their preferred prescriptions.

Complete patient medical records

The second most important benefit of e-prescribing is the data management capabilities it provides. Because medical records are retained, other healthcare providers can see precisely which prescription medications a patient is taking and when they had their script filled last. From making it easier for states to track prescriptions across multiple pharmacies to letting states more easily integrate into prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), electronic prescriptions have the potential to redefine compliance. 

TipTip: Interested in medical software solutions that offer e-prescribing and other useful tools? Check out our review of AdvancedMD, our athenahealth review and our DrChrono review to get an idea of what the leading solutions on the market offer to healthcare organizations.

Healthcare provider recommendation tools

E-prescribing provides instant notification of allergies, drug interactions, and duplicate therapies to provide health professionals the data and actionable intelligence needed to ensure patients receive the right medicines. E-prescriptions also include system alerts that inform healthcare professionals of potential drug interactions and duplicate therapies. [Read related article: The Benefits of Medical Speech-to-Text]

An extra key benefit of e-prescribing is how much less time pharmacy employees spend calling to verify orders. Accurately written prescriptions save time not only for pharmacy employees, but also for clinicians and staff who have to verify prescriptions.

E-prescription capabilities allow doctors and healthcare professionals to tackle all of the challenges mentioned at the beginning of this article, and they also make it easier for them to determine which medicines a new patient is taking – even if the patient can’t remember or didn’t write them down before the visit.



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