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New York e-Prescribing Law to Affect Mental Health Providers

The way prescriptions are sent to be filled in New York is about to change in a major way in March. Beginning March 27th, 2016, a mandatory New York e-prescribing law will go into effect that requires all medical prescriptions to be electronically submitted. All psychiatrists and other medical professionals in New York State, with the exclusion of veterinarians, will have to use electronic forms or systems to give out controlled and non-controlled medicine to their patients. In compliance with this, software for issuing prescriptions will have to be certified by the New York State Department of Health in order to be eligible for use by medical professionals.

Why switch to e-prescribing?

The new practice is introduced by the I-STOP law from 2012 in order to efficiently decrease or eliminate the number of forged and stolen prescriptions used for drug abuse. By implementing an electronic prescription system, this practice will become practically impossible and the number of people who illegally acquire subscription drugs will plummet.

The pros of New York e-prescribing law

There are plenty of benefits from this new law, including:

  • Medications will be much easier to integrate into a patient’s electronic medical record (EMR), giving the doctors a clearer view of the condition the patient is in.
  • Will improve the effectiveness of the treatment process, as it will be easier to see which drugs patients took before current treatment, and subsequently determine new medication.
  • Doctors won’t have to fax prescriptions anymore.
  • Doctors won’t have to buy prescription pads anymore.
  • Electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) leads to less substance abuse.
  • It will become much easier to generate medical lists.
  • Patients won’t lose their prescriptions.
  • Less of a chance misreading a prescription due to sloppy writing.
  • Patients won’t have to make an extra trip to the pharmacy, as refills come into the EMR automatically.

Most physicians and the mental health community support the law

The New York e-prescribing law makes it the first state to introduce e-prescribing into practice, as other states observe to see what will happen next. The entire process was talked about for quite some time and many medical professionals have strong opinions about it. Some physicians and psychiatrists feel it is unnecessary because it will bring confusion into the process of handing out prescriptions, especially since the software they have to use must be certified by state government. Concern was also raised over people who actively seek out many pharmacies in order to find the best deals on medicine prices, as some doctors feel they will not be able to do this in the future. Others, however, feel that it is a welcomed change and look forward to having a more organized system that utilizes the newest technology.

Decreasing forgery prescriptions and having a higher level of organization are the main reasons for introducing a new e-prescribing system in the state of New York. If the mandatory system set to begin in March is successful, this system could become a nationwide norm. While some medical professionals are skeptic electronic prescriptions, many feel the potential for a generally positive impact on the entire health industry.

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