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Doctors prefer e-Prescribing patients because of getting incentives

Doctors prefer e-Prescribing patients because of getting incentives

Electronic prescription is the newest ways of prescribing medications to patients by the doctors. Medicare is also paying incentives to doctors for e-prescribing patients. This article reports about this fact in details along with the impact of e-prescription technology on human healthcare.

Attracted by incentives, doctors are now seen to go more for writing electronic prescriptions rather than using the traditional way of pen and paper.

From January 2009, Medicare has initiated to provide additional incentives to doctors if only they provide e-prescriptions to their patients. Even several private healthcare programs have also initiated making additional monetary compensation, together with medical equipments, digital apparatus and many others at no cost, to the doctors. Recently many tech companies are offering technological equipments, software's to doctors at absolutely no cost. All this is being done to persuade them to discard their age-old hard copy prescriptions. Because of this the number of doctors making e-prescriptions is increasing day by day. In the year 2008, nearly 70,000 doctors and physicians have switched to e-prescription procedures.

Apart from incentives, other features of e-prescribing are convenience and portability. Doctors can email prescriptions or can transfer them over the internet straight to different pharmaceutical companies by using a desktop, laptop or even palmtops. Not only this but this process also enable in tracing and correcting errors in prescriptions by the doctors. Even for the patients and other customers who desire to receive these doctor's prescriptions, find this process as an inexpensive way of receiving prescribed medications. Patients can also receive more number of prescriptions in the shortest possible time, rather than waiting for the same queuing in front of the pharmacy stores. Present US president Barack Obama has proposed to spend $50 billion for the next 5 years, to stimulate the growth of healthcare technology and providing more incentives to doctors for e-prescribing.

However, there remain many obstacles to complete implementation of e-prescribing. The federal medication regulations, which are being evaluated, forbid e-prescribing of restricted medications such as anti-depressing drugs, narcotics and insomnia medications. Medical security professionals also caution that doctors may make mistakes or unintentionally prescribe drugs, which are not intended for the patients while choosing and typing prescriptions in a computer. This may happen like doctors prescribing a newly launched medicine to a patient instead of prescribing a regularly used medication which is mainly required for the correct treatment of the patient. The doctor may accidentally prescribe the new medicines as it is generated first in the series of the e-prescription software application, which was being used by the doctor.

The president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, Michael Cohen has put his vote in favor of e-prescription procedure. However, as per him patients should consult the doctors in person about the prescription verbally. Then they can get the prescription from their doctors over the internet. This will help them to tally both the both the printed as well as the oral prescription and stay away from errors and discrepancies. E-prescription can then achieve its rightful position.

As per researches that were conducted in this regard, it proves that e-prescription software can find severe errors and rectify them. The software analyses the drug record of a patient automatically and finds out if there are any probable risks like inappropriate usage, dosage, allergies, side effects, reactions with other medicines used by the patient and so on. Studies show that above 4 billion prescriptions are configured in the country every year, out of which only 4% are found to have some mistakes, which may cause severe health hazard for the patient.

As per a non-profit organization called eHealth Initiative (consisting of public health associations, healthcare programs, tech companies etc.), above 1.5 million patients face severe health hazards because of traditional erroneous prescriptions. But when e-prescription procedure is implemented, the risk factor gets minimize to a great extent.

The e-prescription software helps patients to save their expenses by enabling the doctors to verify the comparative expenses for generic drugs, copayments and many other things that are included in the healthcare policy of the patient. This is however done by the doctor only with the prior permission of the patient. Allscripts Inc. in partnership with other tech companies are providing the e-prescription software at no cost to doctors.

A research carried out on December 2008 showed that e-prescription technology enables doctors to choose economically priced and generic drugs, which helps in minimizing the yearly expense of drug distribution for every 100,000 patients by $845,000.

It is a matter of fact that nearly 45% pharmaceutical companies approve e-prescriptions. A company is assigned to maintain the data of over 200 million patients and handle the transmission of prescriptions over the internet. Doctors have thus the easy accessibility to his/her patient records, medical history, coverage of specific drugs by healthcare plans and many others whenever required.

As per the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency responsible for keeping a watch on Medicare has reported that on January 2009, Medicare is following a rule while paying incentives and bonus to doctors for e-prescribing. Doctors will be paid 2% of the expenses charged to Medicare for the year 2009 and 2010. This will however go down to 0.5% sooner than 2013. As per recent calculations, it is seen that doctors can earn a yearly incentive of $1,700 to $3,500 extra from Medicare.

On the other hand Medicare has proposed to penalize doctors who will not go for e-prescription procedure. From the commencement of 2012 the Medicare compensation for such doctors will decrease by 1% and then to 2% from the commencement of 2014.

As per the Gorman Health Group e-prescription application can help the government to minimize expenses on healthcare and medications by about $26 billion. This can be done by encouraging doctors to go for e-prescribing patients and pay them more incentives and bonuses. Therefore with so many positive remarks, the e-prescription technology will surely be embraced for the betterment of healthcare.

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