In one state those illegible scrawls that cover prescription pads are about to go from unfortunate reality to distant memory.
New York state will become one of the first to remove paper prescriptions when the New York State Department of Health dismisses the pads from use on March 27, 2015, according to The Daily Beast. By that date, all prescriptions in the state will have to be filed electronically. The requirement was detailed under New York's 2012 Internet System for Tracking over-Prescribing legislation, – part of which addresses controlling, monitoring and tracking the distribution of medications within the state.
The e-prescription portion of the legislation was designed to stop people from stealing paper prescriptions and using them to get ahold of drugs that weren't theirs to begin with. Paul Mahoney, chief assistant in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in the New York State Attorney General's Office, told the publication the state was finding people with thousands of prescriptions.
"The reason why e-prescribing came into the package was a realization that there was a market for the paper prescriptions, for both controlled substances and other drugs that were deriving from the paper itself," he explained to The Daily Beast.
How will going paperless help New York physicians?
Security is one of the advantages of going paperless, the Association for Information and Image Management noted. If files are just sitting in an office, there is a chance that someone can get in there, and possibly get through the lock if there is one. A document storage solution could prevent this from happening by ensuring that important documents such as prescriptions are kept out of the reach of thieves.
Another benefit not mentioned, but one that physicians will probably enjoy, is the luxury of opening up some storage space, according to the association. Often space has to be sacrificed for filing cabinets, or other various storage units. These areas can be used for other purposes when important files are stored electronically instead.
No one has expressed concerns about not being able to afford a switch to electronic prescriptions, Sen. Kemp Hannon explained to The Daily Beast. A long-time supporter of causes such as the I-STOP legislation, the New York senator in 2012 helped illustrate the prescription drug crisis the state was facing.
"The paper makes it very easy to commit controlled substance offenses and to steal other drugs because the paper conveys a right to have the drugs," Mahoney told the publication.
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