DrFirst Healthcare Technology Blog

Top 5 HIT Questions Every Patient Should Ask Their Doctor

June 30, 2010

As  more and more doctors jump on board with electronic prescribing, it is important for patients to know what questions to ask before choosing a doctor.

Here are DrFirst‘s top 5 questions every patient should ask regarding health IT systems.

1.  Is the system your doctor uses for e-prescribing certified by Surescripts?

Surescripts has recently announced their newest set of Gold Solution Providers.  These vendors have demonstrated that their systems can perform all of the necessary functions to be able to provide the highest level of care to patients.

2.  Does your doctor’s e-prescribing system provide full insurance eligibility at the point of care?

Insurance eligibility is one of the most important features an e-prescribing system can have to benefit patients.  It is important that your doctor know which medicines are covered by your insurance for both your primary and secondary plans (if you have one).  This information will prevent you from getting to the pharmacy to find that the drug prescribed is not covered.  This feature is not only a huge time saver, but will also decrease your chances of over-spending for medications, and ultimately will increase your likelihood of following your doctor’s prescription regimen.

3.  Does the system your doctor uses provide a full range of adverse drug reaction alerts?

Today’s electronic prescribing systems should be capable of identifying a large array of interaction alerts, and display them in real time to your doctor at the point of care.  A fully capable e-prescribing system should include the following interaction alerts:

  • drug-drug alerts
  • drug-allergy alerts
  • drug-diagnosis alerts
  • duplicate therapy alerts
  • dosage checking
  • geriatric/pediatric alerts
  • appropriate dosing alerts

4.  Is your doctor able to send prescriptions to all available mail-order pharmacies?

For long term medication regimens, it is important that your doctor be able to send your electronic prescriptions to the mail-order pharmacy that you use.  Full-featured systems are able to identify which mail-order pharmacies are covered by your insurance plan, and can even split prescriptions to allow you to pick up a small portion of your medication from a nearby pharmacy to be taken until the mail-order package arrives.

5.  Does your doctor have access to a full report of your medication history?

Medication history allows a doctor to see exactly what medications you are currently taking and that you have taken in the past.  This is extremely important for patients that see different doctors for different needs.  With this information, each doctor will be fully informed and will be able to use this information to prescribe a new medication while also having it available to run accurate interaction checks.

It is important to understand the numerous patient benefits of using an electronic system, as well as understand exactly what your physician is/isn’t capable of doing for you.  Hopefully as patient’s knowledge increases, doctors will be inclined to choose only those systems that provide the most capabilities.

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About the Author

Irene Froehlich

Ms. Froehlich has been with DrFirst since its inception in 2000. In her role as Director of Marketing, she oversees the planning, directing, and coordinating all marketing and public relations efforts at DrFirst. Ms. Froehlich has a B.S. in Communications from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

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