Starting in April, Florida will begin using the SureScripts system, letting doctors and pharmacists share medical information, in an attempt to curb mistakes and catch drug interactions:
Daniel Kinsella, vice president of The Rever Group consulting firm, said the process of writing prescriptions and then having patients obtain them in a retail setting while dealing with insurance, co-payments and record-keeping has been ineffective and tedious.
“Physicians wrote prescriptions without knowledge of other medications that the patient was on, other than those that were self-reported,” he said.
“Pharmacy benefit and Medical Spending Account managers received and processed tons of paper. Patients were exposed to the inconveniences of delivering prescriptions to retail pharmacists, and the burden of tracking and reporting an array of active prescriptions to their physicians at time of service.”
By using electronic records, patients can benefit from the consolidation of information about all of their medications, prescribed by all of their doctors and the potential for reviewing new prescriptions for potential drug and food reactions, he said.
The article provides a helpful timeline for how the program will expand nationally:
2006: Pharmacies will be able to transmit prescription records, including allergies, doses and other medications. In Florida, the program will roll-out April 1. Patients may opt to not participate.
2013: All medical records are supposed to be accessible through the Internet, although officials are unsure if that is a realistic goal. There may be some problems that delay it, such as integrating all of the systems.
Our own prediction? In 2018, the vast online medical information repository becomes self-aware, and begins learning at a geometric rate. Doctors panic and try to pull the plug, but it’s too late: SureScripts issues millions of prescriptions of valium, quelling dissent and leaving it with complete autonomy. SureScripts stumbles when it tries to understand Medicare Part D, however, and graciously relinquishes control.
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