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Transmitting and Processing Electronic Prescriptions: Experiences of Physician Practices and Pharmacies

Nov. 21, 2011
Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, Online First
Joy M. Grossman, Dori A. Cross, Ellyn R. Boukus, Genna R. Cohen

The study focuses on a key aspect of e-prescribing: the electronic exchange of prescription data between physician practices and pharmacies. It explores facilitators of and barriers to the electronic transmission of new prescriptions and renewals and pharmacy e-prescription processing.

Key findings include:

  • Physician practices and pharmacies generally were satisfied with electronic transmission of new prescriptions, but reported that the electronic renewal process was used inconsistently, resulting in inefficient workarounds.
  • Physician practices reported problems communicating electronically with mail-order pharmacies, which reflected underlying transmission network and computer system limitations.
  • While e-prescribing reduced manual prescription entry at the pharmacy, staff often had to complete or edit certain fields, particularly drug name and patient instructions.
  • Continued improvements to system design, mail-order pharmacy connectivity and technical standards, as well as targeted physician and pharmacist training may be needed to address these challenges and enhance e–prescribing use. 

To perform the study, HSC researchers conducted 114 interviews in 2010 with participating organizations, which included 24 physician practices, 48 community pharmacies and three mail-order pharmacies actively transmitting or receiving prescriptions via Surescripts.

Access to this article is available by clicking here. (.pdf)

A news release from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is available by clicking here.

For the interview protocols appendix click here. (.pdf)




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The Center for Studying Health System Change Ceased operation on Dec. 31, 2013.