Clinician Burdens Reaching Sky Highs: Role of ePrescribing Tools

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As clinician burdens reach sky highs, ePrescribing EHR integrations are critical to fighting burnout.

Healthcare providers have extensively adopted EHR systems to optimize clinical documentation processes and improve care coordination. However, in terms of modern health IT, businesses have not yet brought all elements of healthcare delivery up to speed.

The utilization of archaic fax technology for data exchange between prescribers and pharmacists might exacerbate clinician burden, a rising issue as healthcare providers encounter significant burnout challenges associated with COVID-19.

The Use of Traditional Forms of Prescribing Maximizes the Burden

According to experts from Surescripts, one of the leading vendors providing ePrescribing tools, ePrescribing tools are well-positioned to facilitate data exchange and alleviate the clinician burden.

Fax machines are the traditional way of data exchange for prescriptions.

“In many places, fax is like a dumping ground for anything that possibly needs to be communicated with the provider office,” Andrew Mellin, MD, MBA, Surescripts chief medical officer, explained in an August interview with EHRIntelligence.

Physician firms must categorize the data in the fax box to ascertain who should receive the information. This inefficient system contributes to clinician burden.

Mellin further pointed out that faxing data is futile. He explained that when a document is scanned into an EHR, the data is stored as an image. A human must work with the data in order to incorporate it into the clinical workflow or connect it with other data in the system.

Mellin emphasized that this causes a lot of frustration among physicians. Fax communications are prone to errors and sometimes data is indecipherable, and certain fields are erroneous.

Use Case of ePrescribing

Electronic Prior Authorization

Electronic Prior Authorization is one use case for ePrescribing. Automating prior authorization leads to higher quality care by reducing the clinical burden and delivering medications to patients in an efficient and timely manner.

Prior authorization is adopted by payers to ensure that patients get the cost-effective medication for their ailments.

How ePA Facilitates Workflow

Instead of sending prior authorization documents digitally through phone or fax, Electronic prior authorization (ePA) intends to facilitate and expedite the entire process. ePA can be incorporated into EHR systems, which facilitates the clinical workflow process by enabling healthcare providers to appeal prior authorization with ease.

The majority of providers who employed electronic prior authorization gave a favorable response. Six out of ten providers who employ prior authorization on a regular basis said ePA made it much easier to assess whether they actually required to request prior authorization.

Healthcare providers who employed ePA for the majority of their patients observed reduced prior authorization administrative work, with 54 percent reporting fewer prior authorization-related phone calls and 58 percent reporting fewer prior authorization-related faxes.

Specialty Prescribing

Specialty medication dispensing is also a major use case of ePrescribing.

Prescriptions for traditional medications are typically processed and dispensed within hours after the providers send prescriptions to the local pharmacy. The filling process for a specialty medication, on the other hand, is much more cumbersome.

The first challenge in specialty medication dispensing is sending the prescription to the right pharmacy is. Before sending a prescription to a specialist pharmacy, sometimes the physicians send the prescription to the local retail pharmacy.

Once the specialty prescription is delivered to the appropriate location, depending on the prescription, pharmacists need appropriate clinical information to deliver the right medication to the patient.

Only 50 percent of specialty prescriptions are sent electronically as they require lots of clinical data for the transfer process. So, providers and pharmacists make use of fax machines and phone calls typically to share clinical data associated with specialty medications, which is an error-prone procedure.

As the healthcare industry aims to limit administrative burdens, ePrescribing systems could be a crucial component in optimizing processes so that providers can spend more time with patients and less time in front of the fax machine.