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!

About pkaufman

Schooled at MIT, Dr. Kaufman nurtured a strong interest in medical informatics while a Bowman Gray School of Medicine faculty member. After entering private practice he founded PiNK software in 1996 to produce EMR software, later becoming DrFirst’s chief medical officer upon its founding. He lectures nationally on various healthcare IT topics, and as a board certified gastroenterologist, he continues a limited clinical practice. Dr. Kaufman is a member of the Health IT Standards Committee, Privacy and Security Workgroup for ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for Healthcare Information Technology). Representing the American Gastroenterology Association’s (AGA), Dr. Kaufman is a delegate to the AMA and was the co-chair of the Physicians Electronic Health Record Consortium (PEHRC). He has participated on workgroups at CCHIT (stand-alone e-prescribing), HIMSS (e-prescribing), and NCPDP (e-prescribing).