e-prescribing (electronic prescribing) definition

E-prescribing, or electronic prescribing is a technology framework that allows physicians and other medical practitioners to write and send prescriptions to a participating pharmacy electronically instead of using handwritten or faxed notes or calling in prescriptions.

At the most basic level, an e-prescribing system serves as an electronic reference handbook. More sophisticated e-prescribing systems act as stand-alone prescription writers. They can create and refill prescriptions for individual patients, manage medications and view patient history, connect to a pharmacy or other drug dispensing site, and integrate with an electronic medical record (EMR) system.

Use of a qualified e-prescribing system is required by the US government’s Electronic Prescribing Incentive Program, which gives a medical practice up to a 2% reimbursement of its Medicare Part B charges. A qualified e-prescribing system must be able to transmit prescriptions electronically, warn prescribers about potential allergic reactions and inform physicians about generic alternatives, among other functionality. E-prescribing also reduces the number of prescription errors attributed to bad handwriting or illegible faxes.

Learn more:

Using mobile health technology to enable e-prescribing.

Why e-prescribing alerts cannot be ignored.

This was first published in February 2010

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