CALL-IN PRESCRIPTIONS: Time Crunch Precludes Service
As doctors face "rising workloads," fewer are taking the time to call in new prescriptions, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The paper notes that most physicians "no longer have a personal relationship with the neighborhood pharmacist," and instead must call in prescriptions to "an ever-changing sea of pharmacists and technicians at the big chain stores." In addition, many doctors are afraid that as pharmacists and nurses also become pressed for time, calling in prescriptions will lead to mistakes that leave doctors vulnerable to lawsuits. But pharmacists contend that physicians' "handwriting, notoriously illegible, is not necessarily any clearer than a phone call." Dr. Daniel Hyman notes that nurses on hold with pharmacies are unable to prepare vaccines, handle telephone calls, or prepare patients for exams. "The patient is going to wait for one thing or another because there's limited resources to provide all the services," he said. But pediatrician Stephen Shapiro said calling in prescriptions is a "routine part of pediatrics ... a courtesy to the parents," and the Inquirer reports that many other physicians agree and "wouldn't dream of giving up" the practice. The paper notes that efforts to legalize fax and e-mail requests might combine accuracy and convenience (Burling, 1/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.