It’s not every day the dental industry celebrates the arrival of a new law.
However, if you view Texas House Bill 2174 as a lead domino, the many dominoes that follow are full of opportunities to increase the speed of your operations and reduce patient inconveniences—while doing Texas’ part to fight the national prescription drug abuse epidemic.
HB2174 mandates all Texas prescribers to exclusively use electronic prescribing no later than January 1, 2021 when writing scripts for controlled substances. This includes any substance found on DEA schedules II through V. So, no more paper or fax prescriptions for Lortab, Vicodin, Tylenol-3, etc.
The Time Costs of Paper
We tend to extend a lot of latitude to the familiar, and paper Rx pads are very familiar. However, you can calculate a literal monetary cost to the time consumed by your staff, you and your patients just to navigate the current paper system.
You or your staff can:
- Consume several minutes in an appointment, while the patient attempts to remember the name and exact dosing of other medications they’re taking, so you can research interactions with new prescriptions.
- Look through books or search websites to locate drug data, such as generic alternatives, interactions and contraindications.
- Wait on hold to reach a pharmacist or leave a message and hope it’s retrieved in a timely manner.
- Field incoming phone calls from pharmacists—sometimes just to clarify handwriting.
Your patient must:
- Often take the paper prescription to the pharmacy.
- Wait while the pharmacy fills the script; or return later, possibly affecting his/her adherence.
- In some cases, drive to your office for controlled substance refills.
Every minute you and your team spends can be calculated into a direct cost based on wages. However, when you consider secondary (and beyond) effects of interrupted workflow, indirect costs grow. Add these to the dangers of unintended interactions (or undetected prescription abuse), and the weight of the paper system really starts to show.
A Well-Selected e-Prescribing Solution Eliminates Costly Factors
e-Prescribing options are not created equal. However, if you’re discerning in your selection, you can completely remove the issues listed above, and take your practice’s operational speed and prescription safety to another level.
Here are key attributes of an e-Prescribing solution that can achieve this goal.
Enables You to Prescribe From Your Office Computers or Your Phone
Most providers understand that cloud software is a must in the modern business environment, so we’ll take that as a given. However, what many people don’t realize is that some “cloud” e-Prescribing solutions actually limit themselves to your phone. In some cases, these products may offer additional “desktop” options you can use in your operatory, however they tend to be on a completely different and additional pricing structure. A truly comprehensive cloud e-Prescribing solution allows you to e-Prescribe from desktops and laptops at no additional cost, from any location, any time.
Integrates with Your Practice Management System (EHR)
This is a key to operational speed. Comprehensive integration means that your EHR is feeding patient information to your e-Prescribing software in real time or on demand. The EHR communicates directly to the e-Prescribing software everything required to complete the prescription, including current data that cannot be pulled from an outside database. You should never have to pay a vendor just to import updated information.
Provides Full Patient Prescription History
A comprehensive e-Prescribing solution includes automatic access to a patient’s prescription drug history. By using the exact identifiers from your EHR, the software shows you every medication and dose that has been dispensed to your patient by 99% of U.S. pharmacies. This even includes patients you are seeing for the very first time.
Enables Instant Searches for Drug Information
Re-purpose that paper Lexicomp® as a door stop. Or if you pay for the online subscription, you can cancel that $300-$500 bill. A comprehensive e-Prescribing cloud software includes a built-in rapid-search Lexicomp® drug directory. You can easily access brand versus generic comparisons, available doses, complex interactions with your patients’ other meds, discontinued drugs, etc.
Provides Single-Click Access to Texas PMP Aware
You are already mandated by Texas law to access (and document) the Texas PMP database when prescribing opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates or carisoprodol. The national average duration to access a state PMP website is more than four minutes and 50 clicks. However, a comprehensive e-Prescribing cloud software that is properly integrated to your EHR can reduce this time to one or two clicks. Additionally, the software can document your access, should you ever be audited or asked to prove your PMP checks in a liability case.
Saves Doctor and Patient Preferences
A “Doctor’s Favorites” function offers quick access to the medications or combinations you frequently prescribe. Similarly, the software can automatically present the patient’s preferred pharmacy. All you need to do is confirm information before approving a prescription.
e-Prescribes ALL medications
Because HB2174 addresses controlled substances there’s a misconception that only controlled substances can be e-Prescribed. In fact, moving every prescription in your practice to this same unified process can speed your entire operation for all the reasons we’ve discussed.
Includes Human-Assisted Setup and Registration
The government understandably regulates an individual’s enrollment into e-Prescribing closely. The number of registration steps varies based on whether you apply for controlled substances. With the amount of potential complexity, you should pursue an e-Prescribing solution that assigns a real-life person who is your project manager and advocate through the setup process. The most comprehensive solutions view this as part of your subscription fee and work diligently to reduce your time commitment to as little as possible. They will always give you a phone number to call your advocate and will never charge you an hourly rate for this assistance.
Includes Telephone Support with Experienced Technicians
A comprehensive e-Prescribing solution will allow staff to call and talk with someone in real time as part of your subscription, and will not charge additional fees or hourly rates.
In conclusion, HB2174 is a much-needed step towards fighting prescription drug abuse and an incredible opportunity for the Texas dental community to speed workflow while protecting patients. A comprehensive e-prescription service is key to regaining costly staff and doctor time lost through using paper prescriptions.