I am hoping that our CIO, John Halamka, will provide more details on his blog in the coming days, but I wanted to jump the gun a bit and do a bit of bragging. In CIO-speak, he notes in an email to me:
In 2007, we went live with integrated e-Prescribing within our enterprise electronic health record via the MA-Share rxGateway, our statewide health information exchange collaboration of payers and providers. We had to redefine workflows, cleanup old prescription data and refine the our existing applications to adapt to the new features of e-Prescribing (eligibility checking, formulary enforcement, medication history display and prescription routing).
We started this as a pilot program with our hospital-based primary care doctors. They can now, with the click or two of a computer mouse, send prescription orders to any pharmacy in Massachusetts rather than having to call them in or have the patient deliver a paper order slip. Louise, the practice manager of this group, reports the following benefits, so far:
Significant improvement in efficiency and patient satisfaction in the time for prescriptions to reach the pharmacy. With e-Prescribing, orders travel quickly to pharmacies. Previously, when we called things in it could take up to 2 days for the order to be called to the pharmacy. We have also seen a decrease in medication errors, in terms of wrong patient, wrong medication, wrong dose, in that e-Prescribing has decreased the potential for "communication errors". We are able to track prescriptions more efficiently. With the paper call-in system, orders were all over the department being called in by so many people. Now we can look in WEBOMR and quickly determine where a prescription is in the process (i.e. in queue, transmitted successfully, transmission failed, etc).
Prior to full implementation of e-Prescribing by doctors and NPs, Medical Assistant call-in of prescriptions averaged 350 prescriptions per day. This has now been reduced to 80/day approximately. This will reduce to about 30 once the residents move to e-prescription in April. Each call-in averages 4 minutes per prescription, a savings of 23 hours or approx 3 FTE worth of work per day. The Medical Assistants are now available to more consistency perform the core work required to support the patients, providers, and practice. Previously, inconsistency, the inability to predict if you will have adequate support during your session, had been a major complaint from the doctors and nurses.