Winter is rapidly approaching, and with it comes the primary care physician’s busiest time: the cold and flu season. According to an analysis performed by Zocdoc, March was the busiest month of the year for primary care providers, followed closely by January. To prepare patients for this season, your practice has likely already begun distributing flu vaccinations. But have you prepared your practice? One investment that you should consider is ePrescribing.
ePrescribing offers providers a myriad of benefits throughout the year, and especially during the cold and flu season. From enhanced accessibility and mobility to on-demand medication information and patient medication history, ePrescribing can help your practice and your patients better cope with the symptoms of the season.
- Improve speed and efficiency: As your office schedule rapidly fills up in Q1 2020, ePrescribing capabilities can help you gain efficiencies by ordering and renewing prescriptions on the fly. Many ePrescribing software vendors on the market offer mobile apps and interfaces that enable physicians to write and deliver prescriptions from anywhere, at any time. Providers can even save time and money by electronically submitting prior authorization requests for medications that require prior approval by a patient’s primary benefit manager (PBM). When dealing with a large volume of patients experiencing cold and flu symptoms, the ability to designate and recall a list of favorite medications can help save significant time and reduce the chance for error. Additionally, the ability to integrate ePrescribing with an EHR or EMR automates the patient record-keeping process.
- Reduce human error: When delivering prescriptions via paper, fax, or phone, your orders may pass through many hands. As a result, the opportunity for human error increases substantially. With ePrescribing, prescriptions arrive at the pharmacy directly from the clinician, reducing the probability of human error. The digital format also eliminates legibility issues, making it easy for pharmacists to decipher and correctly fill the order. ePrescribing is safer, providing physicians with instant access to contraindications, drug interactions, and patient medication history.
- Prevent OTC overdosing: To help ease the symptoms of cold and flu, many patients self-medicate with over the counter (OTC) drugs. Unfortunately, the general population typically lacks knowledge on the ingredients and risks associated with OTC products. This can lead to harmful overdosing, particularly among products containing acetaminophen. Many popular name-brand OTC medicines have also introduced combination-ingredient formulas that increase the risk factor. While you, as a physician, cannot control the self-medicating actions of your patients, you can help with education. ePrescribing tools that provide patient encounter notes offer a simple way for physicians to record patients’ current and preferred OTC medications. These notes can be used to help inform prescription selection, as well as alert patients to potential overdosing risks with continued use of specific OTC products.
- Save patients money: Not only is cold and flu season one of the busiest seasons for primary care providers, it is also one of the harshest on patients’ wallets. Between the OTC medicines, doctor visit co-pays, and any potential prescription medications, your patients could also use some financial relief. Another benefit provided by some ePrescribing systems is prescription coupons. These manufacturer coupons and incentives can be sent electronically to a pharmacy or printed for the patient in your office. Saving your patients money on their prescription drugs is an excellent way to build loyalty, and it could not be easier when automated through ePrescribing.
In addition to these specific seasonal benefits, some ePrescribing solutions can also help prepare you for any potential state-mandated EPCS regulations on the horizon. If you are unsure about the status of EPCS mandates in your state, check out our blog entry, “EPCS mandates: Are you prepared?”
Care to share how your practice is preparing for the cold and flu season? Tell us in the comments section below! If you are interested in learning more about ePrescribing services, click here to download our brochure for Quanum ePrescribing. For current Quanum EHR customers interested in adding ePrescribing to their account, simply call 1.888.835.3409, or email SalesSupport@Quanum.com.