December 14, 2009


Robin: "Where'd you get a live fish, Batman?"


Batman: “The true crimefighter always carries everything he needs in his utility belt, Robin.”

As a protector of my patient’s safety, I consider it important to look past all of the current hype regarding workflow and cost-saving advantages associated with e-prescribing,* and focus on the TRUE reason why e-prescribing is so important: SAFETY!

Electronic prescribing is far more than just a few clicks to save a second here and a penny there. E-prescribing gives me the ability to improve patient safety at the point-of-care with medication history information and important clinical alerts during the prescribing process.

Avoiding “Holy complications indeed, Robin.”

Pulling a patient’s medication history provides me with the invaluable details that a patient often does not know (or does not want me to know), such as:

  • past medications and dosages
  • where and when prescriptions are being filled

I can quickly identify any ‘red flags’ indicating that a patient is potentially abusing a drug by frequently refilling it at different pharmacies or using different doctors. I can check to see if something I am prescribing them may have negative interactions with a medication another physician is prescribing for the same patient.

When writing an electronic prescription I have real-time clinical decision support tools that increase the level of safety for my patients. Before each prescription leaves my office, it undergoes an array of safety checks including:

  • drug-drug interaction
  • drug-allergy interaction
  • dosage
  • duplicate therapy
  • drug-disease interaction

Prescriptions written electronically are also checked against the patient’s formulary eligibility, reducing co-pays and pharmacy call-backs, while increasing the likelihood that the prescription will be filled because the patient knows that it is waiting for them already at their pharmacy, and that I have either selected the lowest cost alternative or explained why they should take the one that costs them more.

Batman: “You see, gentlemen, such pure logic is indisputable.”

Peter Kaufman, MD
(aka: the Caped Crusader – A lab coat counts right?)
*Since I don’t have Bruce Wayne’s money, I do also keep in mind the cost savings to my practice and the 2% MIPPA incentive, too!