Controlled-Substance Laws Could Limit e-Prescribing
A Nov. 16 opinion piece about electronic prescribing written by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Pa.) is, "in large part, on the mark," but "their premise that change is in the hands of prescribers who require some sort of financial incentive is undercut by the fact that, by law, a significant percentage of prescription orders -- controlled substances -- may not be transmitted electronically," Karl Williams, an associate professor of pharmacy administration at the Wegmans School of Pharmacy at St. John Fisher College, writes in a Wall Street Journal letter to the editor (Williams, Wall Street Journal, 11/21).
In the opinion piece, Kerry and Gingrich wrote, "E-prescribing for Medicare is just the beginning of the modernization and digitization our ailing health care system urgently needs," adding, "A high-tech, healthier future is within our grasp" (Kerry/Gingrich, Wall Street Journal, 11/16).
"Eliminating poor handwriting will create a safer and more efficient medication use process," Williams writes. However, he adds, from the "prescribing practitioner's perspective, deciding to adopt e-prescribing for only a portion of the prescriptions issued is a half-measure that may actually result in decreased efficiency within a practice environment" (Wall Street Journal, 11/21).