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On March 13th I posted about the use of the iPhone for e-prescribing.  Here is a great commentary on the benefits of e-prescribing from the perspective of a physician CIO at CareGroup Health System and Harvard Medical School.  Seems that the benefits are real, resulting in a significant impact on the bottom line for medical groups and hospitals.

Time and Resource Impact:
1. Prior to full implementation of e-prescribing, Medical Assistant call-in of prescriptions averaged 350 prescriptions per day. We’ve reduced this to 80/day and we’ll further reduce this to 30/day by next month when all residents go live with e-Prescribing.

2. Each call-in averages 4 minutes per prescription and this equals 23 hours or 3 FTE worth of work per day, approximately $96,000.00 of salary. This has been reduced to 0.66 FTE of Medical Assistant work per day or $21,000.00 salary.

3. The Medical Assistant staff are now available to more consistently perform the core work required to support the patients, providers, and practice. In the past, the lack of control over the daily volume of prescriptions resulted in unpredictable exam room support.

4. We experienced significant improvement in efficiency and patient satisfaction in the time for prescriptions to reach the pharmacy. With e-prescribing, prescriptions travel quickly to pharmacies versus up to 2 days for the rx to be called to the pharmacy.

5. We have also seen a decrease in medication errors, in terms of wrong patient, wrong medication, wrong dose since e-prescribing has decreased the potential for “communication errors”

6. We are able to track prescriptions more efficiently. With the paper call-in system, rxs were being called in by many people. Now we can look in our EMR and quickly determine where a prescription is in the process (i.e. in queue, transmitted successfully, transmission failed, etc)