MN to require eRx by 2011

I was a little surprised to see that the state of Minnesota is leading the pack in requiring that physicians use electronic prescribing by 2011 if they contract with the state employees. In theory, using an eRx software product like Purkinje, Allscripts, or Prematics, should reduce errors and save patients money (more generics, more mail).

The key question that I always had is that the big value here is by driving edits that today happen at the pharmacy to the point of care (POC). Will a physician want to deal with step therapy, drug-drug interactions, drug not covered, and other messages in the middle of their patient visit? On the one hand, they deal with it regardless since they get called by the pharmacy…but it changes their workflow.

And, how do patients feel about physicians with their face in a PDA or a laptop? Not that all doctors have great bedside manners anyways. Wouldn’t it be great if physicians could just dictate prescriptions by voice and enable pharmacists to move patients to therapeutic alternatives that were clinically appropriate and saved patients money. A few states allow this, but we are a long way away.

Very few prescriptions get written with software solutions today. Adoption has been hampered by failed products and failed companies. Even physicians with the technology often stop using it quickly.

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