ONC Guide Aims To Improve Providers’ Use of Electronic Prescribing

February 23, 2015 in News

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has released a guide designed to assist providers with electronic prescribing, Becker’s Health IT CIO Review reports (Jayanthi, Becker’s Health IT CIO Review, 2/19). 


About 70% of physicians e-prescribe, and about 90% of pharmacies are able to accept e-prescriptions, according to ONC.

Studies have shown e-prescribing can reduce drug costs and assist with medication management (Durben Hirsch, FierceEMR, 2/17).

Meanwhile, e-prescribing of controlled substances is legal in just 48 states and Washington, D.C. Legislation to allow e-prescribing of such medications by mid-2015 is pending in Missouri and Montana (Surescripts release, 2/19).

Guide Details

According to FierceEMR, the guide, called “A Prescription for e-Prescribers: Getting the Most Out of Electronic Prescribing,” aims to help prescribers learn about e-prescribing. In addition, the guide shows prescribers ways to improve their use of e-prescribing and outlines the eight stages of the process. Those stages are:

  • Identify the patient;
  • Review existing patient data;
  • Select a drug from a menu in the electronic health record;
  • Enter information for the pharmacy;
  • Review advisories and alerts;
  • Choose a pharmacy;
  • Authorize and sign prescription; and
  • Review expectations with patients, monitor e-prescribing logs and manage electronic renewal requests.

The guide also poses some questions for e-prescribers to consider, such as whether the EHR lets a prescriber store a patient’s preferred pharmacy (FierceEMR, 2/17).

“Some of these changes can result in decreased pharmacy call backs to the practice, increased patient satisfaction and improved e-prescribing productivity,” according to the guide. It added, “Recommendations to create unambiguous prescriptions with standardized information enable effective clinical decision support and enhanced patient safety” (Walsh, Clinical Innovation Technology, 2/19).

ONC has said the guide is best-suited to prescribers who use EHRs to send e-prescriptions, rather than a standalone system (FierceEMR, 2/17).

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