Paper Prescriptions Helpful – Duh

I love when someone presents a basic idea as some “new” blockbuster idea. I was just looking through a webinar from last week where it addressed a key point which is increased abandonment of prescriptions at the pharmacy. The presentation referred to a study by CVS that showed that abandonment is higher for e-prescriptions than paper prescriptions. I’ve talked about this before. That physical document (paper prescription) serves both as a reminder, but it also provides the patient with information (drug name, dose, etc) which is an important take away from their visit. BUT, this isn’t new. When I worked with the e-prescribing vendors in 2001, they knew this and offered services where a printout was created for the patient while the prescription was sent to the pharmacy.

Then the presentation talked about actually placing “advertisements” on these printouts. Imagine the ability of the manufacturer to directly message the patient at the time of prescribing with messages about “consider my drug”. This seems to defeat many of the value propositions of e-prescribing which are about pushing plan design information to the physician during the encounter with the patient. Not to mention the disruption to me as the prescriber…imagine the following:

  • The MD writes for Drug A which is a generic.
  • The MD goes to meet with another patient and tells the current patient to pick up a paper prescription at the counter as they pay their copay.
  • When the patient gets their paper prescription, they see messaging around a copay coupon for a branded alternative.
  • They then ask to see the MD again to discuss alternatives right then.

Is this really just shifting that discussion from happening later to now or will it lead to a spike in this discussion and pushing it to face-to-face versus on the phone?

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One Response to “Paper Prescriptions Helpful – Duh”

  1. It seems like the most prudent approach that would be mutually beneficial to patient adherence and retail revenue would be to use both electronic and paper records.

    The paper record acts as a facsimile of the definitive record stored in a database. In this way, it is no different from a car registration or health insurance ID card. The paper provides a cognitive cue.

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