Newspapers Examine Increased Use Of E-Prescribing Technology

Armen Hareyan's picture

E-Prescribing Technology

Two newspapers on Thursday examined the increased use of electronicprescribing technology and Internet-based technology to help withpatient diagnoses. Summaries appear below.

  • E-prescribing:Physicians often are "slow to adopt" e-prescribing technology, althoughthe practice can help reduce costs and prevent medication errors by"replacing handwritten prescriptions with safer, easier-to-understandelectronic messages," the Washington Times reports. According to a report released in July by the Gorman Health Group,fewer than 30,000 of the 900,000 physicians and others nationwide whoprescribe medications use e-prescribing technology, and the practicewill cover 7% of prescriptions by 2010. In addition to a lack ofadoption among physicians, smaller, independent pharmacies often cannotafford to implement e-prescribing technology (Lopes, Washington Times, 9/6).
  • Patientdiagnoses: An increased number of physicians have begun to useInternet-based technology "when they're stumped" on patient diagnoses, USA Todayreports. For example, physicians in 18 hospitals nationwide use Isabel,an Internet-based technology that produces a list of possible diagnosesbased on patient symptoms. Use of Isabel, which costs about $750 perhospital and is highly rated by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, has increased in recent years, according to the American Medical Informatics Association. In addition, according to a study published in BMJin 2006, a number of physicians have begun to use basic Internet-basedsearch engines, such as Google, to help with diagnoses. Some expertsmaintain that increased use of Internet-based technology has helpedreduce the number of misdiagnoses, but others raise concerns that"placing too much emphasis on technology will take the spotlight offclinical judgment," USA Today reports (Donaghue, USA Today, 9/6).

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