Electronic Prescribing

This article describes the features to look for in electronic prescribing and how this service can benefit your practice. Not all e-prescribing services are the same but if you choose the right one, it will save you time, expense, and liability. And, it is a convenience that patients like and appreciate.

As we all know, the government is encouraging the adoption of electronic health records or EHR. In order to get the ball rolling, they have started with incentive programs for electronic prescribing. This is a first step that is fairly easy to implement in a medical office.

Following are e-prescribing incentives and penalities for Medicare providers:

Medicare physicians who use e-prescribing technology will be eligible for incentive payments:

  • 2% in fiscal year 2009 and 2010 (starts January, 2009)
  • 1% in 2011 and 2012
  • 0.5% in 2013

Physicians participating in Medicare who do not eprescribe:

  • 1% payment cut in 2012
  • 1.5% payment cut in 2013
  • 2% in subsequent years

Provision exempts physicians who infrequently prescribe.

What Should An E-prescribing Service Include?

  • The ability to integrate with the patient demographics. This is a huge timesaver.
  • All pharmacies populated so you won't have to enter them yourself
  • Process renewals with just a few mouse clicks.
  • Integration of insurance information to check formularies.
  • Easy to understand medication information should be available to educate patients.

How To Collect From Medicare

Once you begin using an e-prescribing system, you can submit your Medicare claims including the codes below:
  • G8443—to report using an e-prescribing system for all prescriptions
  • G8445—to report using a qualified e-prescribing system, but that you did not generate any prescriptions during the encounter
  • G8446—to report using a qualified e-prescribing system, but that you did not e-prescribe due to state or federal law or regulations that required you to phone-in or print the prescription
  • G8446—to report using a qualified e-prescribing system, but that you did not e-prescribe because the prescription was for narcotics or other controlled substances
  • G8446—to report using a qualified e-prescribing system, but the patient requested that you phone-in or print the prescription
  • G8446—to report using a qualified e-prescribing system, but the pharmacy system cannot receive electronic transmissions

The AMA has a lot of good information on how to implement electronic prescribing.

You can download the Clinician Guide to Electronic prescribing at here.

Advantages Of Electronic Prescribing


The average physician writes 30 prescriptions a day and handles another 30 refill requests.

Indecipherable or unclear prescriptions result in more than 150 million calls from pharmacists to physicians, asking for clarification.

Communications between pharmacies and physician offices account for an estimated 20% of the workload of physician-office staff.


The typical pharmacy call-back costs physician practices $5–$7 to pull and review the chart and return the call.


Due largely to legibility problems, prescription orders must be confirmed at the pharmacy level in almost 40 percent of cases.

Medication errors cause 1.5 million preventable injuries and death each year.

The good news is that once you get set up with e-prescribing, it is easy to use and will save you time and money. We will be happy to help you with setting up electronic prescribing for your office. We handle all the paperwork and perform the training. Feel free to contact us.

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