E-Prescriptions May Increase Medication Adherence, Study Finds

Is electronic prescribing the key to higher medication adherence?

Is electronic prescribing the key to higher medication adherence?

A study published in JAMA Dermatology found e-prescribing to be associated with a significant decrease in primary nonadherence. The study, which analyzed nearly 2500 patients, suggests e-prescribing may be the gateway to enhancing patient prescription adherence.

It is known that e-prescribing increases coordination between pharmacist and physician and can decrease prescription errors; however, less is understood about how e-prescriptions affect the rate at which patients fill or don’t fill prescriptions.

Researchers compared rates of nonadherence associated with e-prescriptions and paper prescriptions among patients attending an outpatient dermatology clinic. Paper prescriptions saw a 17% higher risk of primary nonadherence than e-prescriptions, with a 16% difference after adjusted multivariable analysis. According to the researchers, this marks a 47% reduction in the primary nonadherence risk for patients who received e-prescriptions.

The figure, published in JAMA Dermatology, measures the time until medication fill for fully adherent patients.

Of 1693 patients who received paper prescriptions, 492 were completely nonadherent, whereas 127 out of the 803 patients who received e-prescriptions were nonadherent. At 60 days, 78.2% of patients given e-prescriptions were fully adherent compared with 60.8% of patients given paper prescriptions.

The study was not designed to identify reasons for patient nonadherence, and it mainly included urban, low-income patients as participants.

Despite positive results, the nonadherence rate was still more than 15% in individuals who received e-prescriptions. More studies are needed to examine why patients don’t fill prescriptions.