Electronic prescribing reduces drug costs

Electronic prescribing systems can significantly reduce drug bills, US research suggests.

(Photograph: iStockphoto/René Mansi)
(Photograph: iStockphoto/René Mansi)

The researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, evaluated the first year of implementation of an e-prescribing system in community-based medical practices. The system included formulary decision support encouraging prescribers to choose cheaper medicines when a choice of treatments was available.

Prescribers who used the electronic prescribing system prescribed 3.3% more medicines in the cheapest drug category (those with the lowest co-payment).

‘Although the size of the effect may appear modest, the potential financial effect is substantial,’ the researchers say. ‘Our results suggest there are important economic gains achievable through the broader use of e-prescribing with formulary decision.’

Although, they add, prescribers need to adopt such systems fully for gains to be realised.

tom.moberly@haymarket.com

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