DALLAS – A new study has found that patients are more likely to pick up and fill their medications if they are given prescriptions in an electronic format.
The study was published online Wednesday in JAMA Dermatology.
“The finding represents a 47% reduction in the risk of primary non-adherence for patients who received an e-prescription versus those who received a paper prescription,” researchers said in the study.
Primary non-adherence was defined as not filling and picking up all prescriptions within one year of the prescription date.
The study included 4,318 prescriptions written for 2,496 dermatological patients on the Parkland Health Plus program, a taxpayer-subsidized health insurance program for uninsured, low-income residents of Dallas County.
Researchers said that underuse of prescription medications has been linked to poorer patient outcomes and increased health care costs.
“Understanding the epidemiologic factors of prescriptions is important because underuse of prescription medications continues to be a problem,” concluded the study. “Steps should be taken to better understand why primary non-adherence happens, and how it can be improved.
Patients with paper prescriptions did have a higher proportion of full adherence in the first four days after the prescription was issued, but after that, patients with e-prescriptions were likely to be more adherent.
“In this study we demonstrated that e-prescribing is associated with reduced rates of primary non-adherence,” said the study’s authors. “As the health care system transitions from paper prescriptions to directly routed e-prescriptions, it will be important to understand how that experience affects patients, particularly their likelihood of filling the prescriptions.”