The prescription pad (along with prescription printouts) has long been a fixture of modern medicine. Much like a personal check, it’s important to have that piece of paper with a doctor’s signature on it so that a pharmacist can be sure a prescription is legitimate before he or she fills it. Just like modern personal checks, however, prescriptions are starting to go completely online.
In the state of New York, doctors are now required to enter all their prescriptions into an online network, an “e-prescription” system which delivers doctors’ notes directly to pharmacies without any physical paper involved. New York’s system is the first time such a system has been made mandatory by law, and while it certainly helps physicians and pharmacists by streamlining the prescription system, reducing mistakes by getting around bad handwriting, and eliminating the potential problem of a lost prescription note, e-prescriptions are mostly designed to stop prescription forgeries.
For years now, America has had a growing problem with prescription drug abuse, particularly when it comes to opioid painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin. Opioids offer powerful pain relief, but at the same time they can be very addicting and will always create a chemical dependency if they’re used for long enough. As a result, many patients who started taking oxycodone or hydrocodone as a pain reliever eventually became addicted and started seeking out more to maintain their habit, and even patients who only use opioids for their chronic pain problems may have to get extra pills one way or another as their tolerance increases.
New York’s e-prescription program doesn’t address prescription drug abuse directly, but it does make it harder for people to get prescription drugs illegally by eliminating even the possibility of a forged prescription. Since New York pharmacies now only accept prescriptions sent electronically from the doctor’s office, it’s that much harder for people to get OxyContin without a doctor’s permission.
Of course, while shifting to electronic paperwork and prescriptions does make it easier on doctors and nurses, even online forms take a lot of valuable time away from the patients. That’s why ProScribe places professional medical assistants in clinics and hospitals across the country, assistants who can file insurance claims, answer phones, and perform other administrative tasks so that the medical professionals can care for more patients each day and speak with them for more than just a few spare minutes at a time.