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Get your questions answered on Medicare e-prescribing.
Q: We understand the initiative toward e-prescribing and would like to take advantage of the premium Medicare is offering for doing so. We cannot afford to convert to electronic medical records (EMRs), however, because the investment is significant and we are a small primary care practice. Do we have any options?
A: You have several options:
EMRs probably will be mandated at some point in the future, much the same as electronic claims were mandated. If you purchse an EMR program, make sure you choose one that has e-prescribing capabilities.
If you choose to take this route, make sure the ASP provider can provide software that offers e-prescribing in its most efficient form. Some e-prescribing software is capable of going to a national database and downloading into your system the prescriptions that your patients are taking and will show you contraindications as soon as you enter a new medication.
Most ASP providers also offer practice management software that integrates with the EMR software, enabling you to enter patient demographic information only once and preventing you from having two programs-one for practice management and another for EMR purposes-that don't communicate with one another.
Regardless of which option you choose, ask for references and client lists from any vendor you contemplate using, and check with your state and national societies to see whether they have recommendations.
Answers to our readers' questions were provided by Rosemarie Nelson, MGMA Health Care Consulting Group, Syracuse, New York, and Virginia Martin, CPC, CHBC, Healthcare Consulting Associates of Northwest Ohio, Waterville. Send your practice management questions to firstname.lastname@example.org