Some Texoma doctors going paperless for prescriptions

Lawton_Technology now is at the fingertips of several doctors in Texoma, and many local offices are dropping paper prescriptions in favor of a digital form called 'e-scripting.'  Not only do doctors like it, so do pharmacies.  Unlike paper prescriptions, before the patient even leaves the doctor's office, a digital prescription is on its way to the pharmacy.

Lawton Pharmacist Bob Dishman says the new method is a huge improvement, and he's seeing it more and more.  You may not expect to use the words "quick," "easy," or "convenient," when referring to medical procedures, but thanks to e-scripts, that's exactly the way it is.  "Comes on the internet to our pharmacy, and we just print them off," said Dishman.

Dishman says it also helps pharmacists deal with the all-too-common difficulty in deciphering doctors' handwriting.  "It is easier to read than some prescriptions."  The new technology could get a needed boost from the federal government, too.  The economic stimulus bill signed by President Barack Obama includes about $19 billion that will be put toward health care information technology.  It means that written prescriptions soon could be a thing of the past.  "It's a little faster than most," said Dishman.  "We have at least a couple of techs working all the time, and one or two pharmacists working all the time, so we can get it out pretty fast."

It's also convenient for patients.  "We have some people that will lose a prescription before they get to us," said Dishman.  Misplaced prescriptions can also be a "headache" for those who have to rewrite them.

Dishman says he thinks more doctors will be using this technology in the future.  According to a report by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, switching to the technology could save the U.S. Government $22 billion over the next decade.  The report also says that only 15% of prescribers use the technology currently, but by 2014 the number is expected to increase more than 75%.  Researchers say that switching to e-scripting will prevent 3.5 million medication errors due to misreading a doctor's handwriting.