what is an e-prescription?

Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

E-prescriptions are computer-generated prescriptions created by your doctor and sent directly to your pharmacy. This way your prescription arrives at the pharmacy before you leave the doctor's office. In turn, there are no paper prescriptions to drop off. In addition, this service is provided by your doctor at no cost to you.

Many doctors, physician assistants, and nurses have started to make the switch from using the standard prescription pad to electronic prescribing. The prescription is sent from your doctor's computer to the pharmacy's computer, saving you the extra trip to the pharmacy to drop off the paper prescription.

Eprescriptions are sent electronically through a secure and closed network - the Surescripts Network - so your prescription information is not sent over the open Internet or as email.

One of the great benefits of electronic prescriptions is that they reduce handwriting errors in the doctor's office. Also, electronic prescriptions are filled much faster by the pharmacy than paper prescriptions.

The privacy of your personal health information contained in all your prescriptions, whether written or electronic, is protected by a federal law and state laws. The federal law is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

HIPAA requires that your personal health information be shared only for the purpose of providing you with clinical care. Eprescriptions meet this requirement.

On the other hand, paper prescriptions cannot be entirely eliminated because the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) prohibits sending prescriptions for controllable substances electronically. Thus, any Schedule-2 drug must be prescribed on paper.