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A new electronic system developed which could allow doctors to send prescriptions to pharmacies electronically could reduce medical errors and medical negligence. One study suggests that as much as 20% of the 550,000 physicians practicing could use this system but only about 5% are actually employing it.

The system would allow doctors to use mobile phones or computers to send the prescriptions. The hope is that it would reduce errors and warn of potential drug interactions.

Beyond conveying prescriptions, systems can alert doctors to potential drug interactions or dosing problems, eliminate handwriting errors, automate the time-consuming renewal process, provide data on a patient’s drug plan, and potentially cut thousands of pharmacy calls to doctors. Hospitals, insurers, technology companies, regional collaboratives and pharmacies have been working to advance adoption of e-prescribing.

E-prescribing proponents, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, point to a study that estimates adoption of e-prescribing technology could save $27 billion in U.S. health care costs by reducing adverse drug events and improving work flow.

For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Medical Malpractice and Negligent Care.

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