TICONDEROGA - The days of pharmacists struggling to read a physician's scribbles are over. And so are the mistakes that came with using slips of paper for prescribing medications.
Thanks to the Adirondack Medical Home Pilot, most Adirondack-area residents now get their prescriptions filled the safest and most efficient way - through electronic communications.
All Hudson Headwaters Health Network centers are part of the program. Hudson Headwaters operates facilities in Ticonderoga, Moriah and Schroon Lake.
More than half a million prescriptions have been sent electronically from medical practices to pharmacies since July 2010, when practices participating in the Pilot met a deadline for e-prescribing.
The pilot includes more than 35 primary care practices in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton and Warren counties, representing some 100 physicians and a like number of physician assistants and nurse practitioners.
"When primary care practitioners, hospitals, specialists and public and private payers created the Pilot, we envisioned raising the quality of care while holding down costs," said John Rugge, M.D., CEO of Hudson Headwaters. "One of the first steps we took achieve this was to require participating practices to electronically prescribe medications. Thanks to the Pilot, the Adirondack North Country is the leading region in New York State for e-prescribing, and our patients are reaping the benefits of this improvement."
In addition to ending mistakes that stem from illegible handwriting, e-prescribing provides other safety benefits, said Cyndi Nassivera-Cordes, vice president for medical support at Hudson Headwaters. "E-prescribing programs have built-in alerts. They automatically inform the physician about problems such as patient allergies to medications, potential adverse interactions with medications already being taken, and whether use of a particular drug is appropriate for the elderly or for people with certain chronic conditions."
E-prescribing promotes efficiency and cost control by automatically alerting practitioners about different medication choices, including generic alternatives. Moreover, physicians are informed about which medications are covered by a patient's health insurance, leading to lower costs, lower co-pays for patients and fewer claim rejections. Medicaid, the federal and state program that provides health care to the impoverished, strongly advocates the use of e-prescribing as a cost-saving measure which offers improved safeguards for patients.