DrFirst Healthcare Technology Blog

Top 10 Reasons for Dentists to E-prescribe

December 8, 2017

Listed below are the top ten reasons why dentists should use e-prescribing in their dental practices.

1. Improve Patient Safety
E-prescribing can significantly reduce medication errors that claim an estimated 7,000 lives each year in the US.  The ADA Council on Dental Practices notes that these errors are caused primarily by illegible handwriting, unclear abbreviations, dose errors, ambiguous orders and fax clarity—most of which are avoidable with e-prescribing.

2. Fight Prescription Drug Abuse
Every day, more than 90 Americans die after overdosing on opioids, and 7 million Americans routinely abuse prescription medications including opioids.  Roughly, 21 to 29 percent of the patients who receive opioids for chronic pain misuse them.  According to the study, Dentists are responsible for 12 percent of the prescriptions for fast-acting opioid pain relievers.  As a major prescriber of these medications, Dentists can and should play a major role in the campaign to reduce the misuse or abuse of these strong pain relievers.

3. Regulations
The Federal Government has responded to the opioid epidemic by declaring a National Emergency.  This has led to new initiatives within the FDA and DEA, and state governors and legislatures are passing laws designed to decrease the overdose death rates in their states.  As part of New York’s I-STOP legislation, electronic prescribing of both controlled and non-controlled substances is mandatory.  Electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) is mandated in Maine, Minnesota, and New York, and a mandate will take effect in Connecticut in January of 2018.  EPCS is legal in all 50 states and other states are evaluating the results of these early mandate efforts and may soon join their ranks in requiring controlled substance electronic prescribing.  In a study of New York dentists, within a few months after I-STOP was implemented, the number of opioid prescriptions fell by about 50 percent and the quantity of pills per prescription was reduced.

4. Comply with Patient’s Formulary
E-prescribing allows dentists to easily access a patient’s formulary list and select covered medication.  Some e-prescribing systems, like DrFirst’s Rcopia®, allow prescribers to select the most cost-effective prescriptions, increasing the likelihood that patients will comply with the prescribed treatment.  Among adults, 75 percent are non-adherent to their doctor’s recommendations in one or more ways, and between 28 and 31 percent of ALL paper prescriptions either never make it to the pharmacy or are not picked up once the patient is aware of the cost.

5. No Need to Purchase New Hardware
After a short government-required identity proofing, dentists can immediately begin e-prescribing both controlled and non-controlled substances without having to buy or install any additional hardware or drastically change their normal workflow.  Electronic prescriptions can be securely written from laptops, mobile phones or iPads connected to any wireless network.  This allows the Dentist to securely write and/or renew prescriptions from anywhere.

6. Pharmacies
Nationally, more than 90 percent of all pharmacies are EPCS enabled, making writing an electronic prescription as easy as a few strokes on the dentist’s choice of entry.  Open standards are important factors for the successful adoption and use of electronic prescribing.  Dentists are not forced into a single system by closed standards.

7. Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP)
All but 13 states already require that prescribers register with their state’s PDMP before prescribing controlled substances, and most of those are starting to require practitioners to review PDMP data and verify patient medication history prior to prescribing opioids, benzodiazepines, or in some cases any controlled substances. The purpose of the PDMP is to verify the patient’s medication history prior to prescribing controlled drugs, thereby reducing the number of individuals who go from office to office seeking opioids. Using electronic prescribing will facilitate dentists’ PDMP review and compliance without having to exit their present workflow.

8. Better Communication between Dentist and Patient
E-prescribing with electronic patient notifications reduces discordance by providing better medication instructions, as well as patient education on their conditions.  Improved communication supports the dentist-patient relationship and reduces patient-provider discord.  Patients who have better experiences with their dentist are more likely to return for additional care in the future.

9. Healthcare Costs
Greater adoption of e-prescribing can save the US healthcare system between $140 and $240 billion over the next 10 years and may contribute to lower insurance premiums.

10. Patient Perception
Patients observing their dentist using electronic prescribing view their doctor as being cutting edge with technology and thereby able to offer the best care for their family.

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About the Author

Michael Kaminski, DDS, FAGD Dental Strategist

Michael Kaminski, DDS, FAGD is a Maryland dentist and DrFirst’s strategist for the use of Backline and iPrescribe solutions in dentistry. Dr. Kaminski is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, and he has practiced general dentistry for over forty years in Olney, Maryland. He also helps to direct a dental clinic in the Dominican Republic. Dr. Kaminski concentrates on the utilization of Backline and iPrescribe in both the private practice setting and in dental universities. He is also a member of DrFirst’s Opioid Abuse Task Force.

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