Electronic prescriptions: Do they work for you as best they can?

February 10, 2017 06:32 PM

The state's electronic prescribing law went into effect last March, but there are pros and cons.

News10NBC spoke with doctors and pharmacists on Friday and asked them: How has this law changed the way they provide health care services to patients?

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When we first told you about this law last year, some doctors said the state's electronic prescription requirement is a huge burden.

Back in 2016, Dr. Phyllis Harris said, “Do I want to do it? Absolutely not. Well, it will just mean more work at night.”

Some physicians consider it as time-consuming and expensive. Almost a year later, we asked doctors if anything has improved.

Pediatrician Dr. Edward Lewis said, “The prescriptions are legible. You have control over it. You can follow the electronic trail log in terms of where the prescription was sent and when it was sent.”

But there is a downside; patients won't be able to shop around.

“That is a cost to patients. It's a cost to me too because I may send the prescription into pharmacy X. The patient may go there and say they didn't either have the prescription or it was cheaper in pharmacy Y.”

The goal is to cut down on the amount of prescription opioid abuse. Dr. Edward Lewis says other physicians he talked to agree this has been effective in keeping controlled substances in check.

“Before I write a prescription for a controlled substance, like an ADHD medicine, I have to go on to the NYS registry and see when the last time the prescription was written.”

Although there are a few hiccups, pharmacists say the new law has streamlined the process for all.

Lekisha Griffin owns a pharmacy in Rochester. She tells News10NBC, “Now they've made a provision through the state Board of Pharmacy where we can transfer prescriptions that have never been filled before. Previously, we could only do transfer prescriptions that have at least been filled once.”

New York is the first state to require electronic prescriptions and penalize physicians who fail to comply.

Other states, like Minnesota, have a similar law requiring e-prescriptions, but do not penalize doctors who choose to use pen and paper.


Nina Porciuncula

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