Generic Prescriptions May Cause EMR Headaches

Patients who pay cash for their generic drugs may be causing their own electronic medical records to be incomplete and inaccurate, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Four-dollar generic drug programs may improve access to much-needed medications and contain healthcare costs. Oftentimes, patients opt to pay for generic drugs out-of-pocket rather than paying the higher co-pay. Researchers found patients who purchase generic prescriptions with cash, rather than through their insurance plan, are causing pharmacy claims data to be incomplete because the prescription update is filed under the pharmacy's retail database.

On the other hand, when patients use their healthcare plans to purchase generic drugs, pharmacies can file the claims and share that update with physicians and other care providers. Physicians often rely on pharmacy claims data to keep e-prescribing and EMRs up-to-date. Inaccurate or incomplete medication data can lead to dangerous drug interactions and other adverse events. Authors concluded e-prescribing and EMR technologies need to be better integrated with pharmacy data to close the loop on patients' medication history.

Read the study about generic prescriptions impacting health IT.

Read other coverage about interoperability:

- Former ONC Staffers Expand Open Source Technology for Information Exchange

- Akron General, Summa Health Partner to Share Patients' Lab Information

- Some Hospitals Struggle with Cost of Healthcare IT, Lack of Standardized Language

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