Commentary
7/24/2007
11:07 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
Commentary

Sprint Donating Smartphones For Wireless Electronic Prescription Program

Does your physician still use a pad and pen to write out prescriptions? Mine actually uses a tablet PC, and has a wireless system in place to send prescriptions directly to my pharmacy. Sprint and Allscript's new initiative doesn't quite go that far, but it comes pretty close by using Windows Mobile



Does your physician still use a pad and pen to write out prescriptions? Mine actually uses a tablet PC, and has a wireless system in place to send prescriptions directly to my pharmacy. Sprint and Allscript's new initiative doesn't quite go that far, but it comes pretty close by using Windows Mobile smartphones instead.The whole point of this little project is to break down some long-standing barriers. Physicians can be notorious for not wanting to change their workflow and many still rely on the good old prescription pad. I don't know about you, but I've lost those tiny little pieces of paper before. I am sure I'm not the only one. And sometimes it's a real pain in the neck to get a new one.

Looking to help physicians change their ways is a new electronic prescription program from Sprint and Allscripts. Sprint is donating 1,000 PPC-6700 smartphones to licensed medical professionals who write prescriptions on a regular basis. The smartphones are going to be customized with a "smart e-button", which will launch the free application from the home screen. The application creates secure electronic prescriptions from any Web-enabled computer, phone, or other device and can deliver them computer-to-computer or via electronic fax to some 70,000 retail pharmacies across the United States. This will let the physician send the prescription right from the examination room.

Aside from saving time around the doctor's office, the program also is hoping to save lives with avoided errors and conflicts. All prescriptions that pass through the system are checked for potentially harmful interactions with a patient's other medications. That's a key step to preventing serious problems.

"As a solo practitioner, I have found that eRx NOW saves me time and also increases patient safety by informing me of any drug interactions or problems with formulary adherence," said Steven Zuckerman, M.D., a solo-practice neurologist in Baton Rogue, La. "I am particularly excited about the Sprint offering because now I will be able to extend the function of NEPSI to wherever and whenever I interact with patients, whether in my office exam room, at the hospital bedside or even at home while on call."

Medical professionals interested in the program will have to register with the National ePrescribing Patient Safety Initiative and activate its Web-based eRx NOW electronic prescribing software before Sept. 15, 2007. More information is available here.

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