Faster, Safer Route to Rx

Toni Wendling's been to the pharmacy enough times over the yeras to know the drill..

"It always takes awhile," she says. "They say go shop and we'll have your prescription ready 45 minutes later!"

But that wasn't the case on a recent visit. Dr. Mike Atwood of Cotton-O'Neil Clinic logged on to Escrips. The program allows doctors to send prescriptions from their computer directly to the pharmacy's computer, which is almost instant. Dr. Atwood says in most cases it will be faster and safer for the patients.

Dr. Atwood says Cotton-O'Neil has long been able to print out prescriptions from a computer to get around handwriting issues, but those prescriptions still had to get to the pharmacy. He says faxing didn't solve the problem. He says his office may fax more than a thousand prescriptions a day, and, if the pharmacy fax is busy, it goes to the bottom and it could be several hours before it's refaxed, which creates a delay for patients.

Besides convenience, there are also safety advantages. Dr. Atwood says the electronic system immediately alerts him to any drug to drug interactions and or allergies so he can make a change.

The system has won over Toni. She says she was out the door in five minutes - something she'd never experienced.

Both the doctor and the pharmacy have to have the Escrips software. Dr. Atwood says nearly two dozen area doctors and more than 60 area pharmacies do.

Also, it's against federal law right now to send prescriptions for narcotics electronically.


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