Friday, February 22, 2008

E-Rx: A Good Use for An i-Phone

I don't have an I-phone but I may get one soon since I just discovered a new use for it that would fit in well with my practice: e-prescribing. E-prescribing has some advantages over traditional paper prescription writing. To name a few such advantages, e-prescribing decreases Rx dosing errors and insurance formulary and tier-ing issues, not to mention handwriting problems. Though I'm still slow at it, I can see that e-prescribing willmake my practice more efficient.

In NY State at least—which is fast becoming the most physician unfriendly state in the nation—only licensed practitioners such as RNs and MD/Dos can call in prescriptions to a pharmacy on behalf of the doctor. As you might imagine, a busy doctor, especially a generalist, can easily become overwhelmed by prescription management. In comes e-prescribing. With this new high tech tool, my high school educated MA—or anyone else with no medical training for that matter--can queue up all the prescriptions and refills for me that come in throughout the day and then I can review, edit, and approve them with a simple keystrokes from anywhere. My MA does not need any specific training in prescription writing or drug-drug interactions and she really can't make a mistake that can get my patients and me into trouble. Yet she can do the lion's share of the work for me.

Beautiful and just what I need.

Here is where the i-Phone comes into play. I was in the OR today and forgot my Rx pads. I did several cases on patients, all of whom had different pharmacies and I had have to call in some scripts for them. Now with hold times and phone trees and formulary related call backs etc, calling in prescriptions to pharmacies can be a royal pain and not something that I relish. Instead, I asked to borrow my friend Mike's i-Phone. With it, I logged onto my e-RX network, located my patients' profiles, selected the meds and doses from drop down menus, selected their pharmacies, hit approve all and voila', done.

Not bad. I can see other nice uses for the i-Phone as well, but this one is among the best.

Now if I could only use an i-Phone to reach Governor Spitzer to beg him for relief from this ridiculous med-mal environment that Long Island's docs have entered.

As always, join me on legislative day in Albany, March 4th.

The IU