As dentists in the State of New York are well aware, electronic prescriptions will be mandatory as of March 27, 2016. Non-electronic prescriptions submitted to a pharmacy will not be filled after the March deadline.
New York dentists account for about 8 percent of all dentists practicing in the United States; the total number of dentists in the state is second only to California. With such a large number of dental professionals affected by this mandate, it’s relevant to consider how electronic prescribing fits into a dental practice, no matter where it’s located.
There are numerous benefits to implementing electronic prescriptions in your practice:
- Reduce Medication Errors—numerous studies show that processing prescriptions through a computerized provider order entry system reduced the likelihood of medication errors.
- Better Communication with Pharmacies—Electronic prescriptions can facilitate communication between doctors and pharmacies by offering an efficient, secure channel for transmitting prescriptions.
- Avoid Multi-Drug Interactions—Perhaps most important, electronic prescriptions can improve patient safety by allowing doctors to easily confirm drug interactions at the time of prescribing.
Once you’ve decided that electronic prescribing is the right choice for your practice, there are a few features you should look for when selecting the best system to electronically transmit prescriptions.
- Security is Key—Ensure your software is part of a secure—encrypted or encoded—system; meets current HIPAA privacy and security standards; and requires a username and password for access. Despite the “e,” email is not considered a secure way to transmit prescriptions, nor are file sharing websites.
- Protect against Data Loss—In the case of computer failure, who is responsible for the lost data? Ideally, prescriptions should be stored in the cloud, which should be maintained by your service provider. With the cloud, there is no chance of computer malfunctions destroying prescription data because it is maintained offsite.
- Keep Control of Controlled Substances—The Drug Enforcement Administration requires a dual authentication protocol for controlled substances. Therefore, look for software that requires a two-factor authentication to prescribe controlled substances.
- Freedom to Choose—Be sure to select a software that lets you choose from a comprehensive nationwide list of pharmacies to send prescriptions from within your practice management software. Also, look for an option that provides a single route from pharmacies to physicians for all refill requests, regardless of the prescriber’s participation in your chosen system.
If you practice in New York, what do you think of the mandate? Wherever you practice, would you consider using electronic prescriptions to streamline your practice?