TECH: IOM reccomends ePrescribing by 2010

The IOM is out with another report on medication errors in which it recommends the use of ePrescribing for all scripts by 2010. And it’s made it into the news, at least into the AP Headlines where the tale is told that drug errors hurt 1.5 million.

Perhaps someone should let whoever took the ePrescribing mandate out of the final language in the MMA in 2003 (after it made it through in the House version of the bill) know that they’re killing people and costing payers a fortune. But then again I wouldn’t want to point fingers at anyone in particular.


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  1. One MD’s opinion: This isn’t about reluctance to take on new technology as much as it’s about reluctance to switch from one method to another without any evidence to demonstrate significant value. I’ve made plenty of mistakes by using a computer’s default setting in one program or another. The best way to make sure the pharmacy makes the right choice is to not have illegible handwriting. There are many ways around this, one of which is to print rather than to use cursive writing. But I don’t wish to be forced into spending thousands of dollars on a computer-based prescribing system (which I’ll ultimately have to charge back to my patients due to the increased cost of doing business) without having clear evidence of: 1) no decrease in efficiency…it can’t slow me down, 2) no increase in costs without an accompanying increase in income, 3) improvement in medical error rates, rather than just a horizontal move from one type of error to another type of error, 4) no decrease in ability to care for patients in their homes ( I still do housecalls, and I have no desire to schlep yet another battery powered dohickey with me when a small paper pad works just fine ).
    One last point…I worked for Apple Computer for several years in their Tech Support department. I consider myself technically savvy and capable. And yet in my opinion we’re nowhere near the point where it makes sense for individual docs to have e-prescribing capabilities. Once the questions above get answered, then it will be time. And if I’m reluctant to move in that direction, I can’t imagine that my non-techie peers are any less reluctant.

  2. AMA isnt against e-prescribing, they just dont want to pay for something thats not necessarily going to be accepted as the industry standard and work with other existing infrastructures.
    If the fed govt came out with a law which says that X is the escripting package that the whole medical field must use, ending any uncertainty about cross-compatibility or industry standards, then the AMA would be the first to advocate implementing the system.
    The private marketplace is not hte place for such a system. The fed govt should just declare by law that the VA “VISTA” system is the de jure standard package. Then docs would not hesitate to implement it in their practices and hospitals would do the same.