With the implementation of EHR in full force, there are two health care technology tools that will help employees save time and money while simultaneously impacting patient safety and awareness: e-prescribing and consumer-focused mobile applications.
Estimates show that approximately 7,000 deaths occur in the United States each year due to medication errors from handwriting illegibility, incorrect dosing, and missed drug-drug or drug-allergy reactions. The electronic “writing” of prescriptions cuts down on those errors and reduces one of the largest paper-based processes in our country.
Mobile apps are another innovation that provide greater access to information, but on a consumer level. The apps, which are typically free to the user, offer many benefits that help patients be more informed and vigilant in controlling their health care costs.
Why This is Important for Employers
E-prescribing allows a physician to electronically transmit an accurate and understandable prescription directly to a pharmacy. The system also provides warnings and alerts on drug interactions, allergies or drug appropriateness when prescribing. As a result, employees are able to spend less time going back and forth between a doctor and pharmacy because the diagnosis and prescribed treatment are less likely to be confused.
Additional benefits of e-prescribing include higher efficiencies for pharmacies through the reduction or elimination of phone calls and call-backs, faxes, streamlined refill requests and authorizations, increased patient compliance, improved formulary adherence and better reporting — ultimately keeping employees safer.
Consumer-based mobile apps are becoming more prevalent as well, with just about every major medical carrier offering a free service to help empower employees in their health care choices. Services like BCBSNC’s HealthNAV, United Healthcare’s DocGPS and Aetna’s mobile app have launched as recently as one month ago.
Once the apps are installed on a smart phone, employees can find a wealth of information at their fingertips: in-network doctors, urgent cares and specialists; prescription drug finders including payment tiers and generic alternatives; customer service access; personal health records; and much more.
Employees in today’s diverse workforce access information in a variety of ways. It is important for employers to offer benefit information through a variety of communication channels to meet those various needs.
Fortunately, North Carolina is one of the top five e-prescribing states, so odds are that your employees are already benefitting from this process. If they are not currently seeing a doctor who e-prescribes, sharing some of the key facts about the process with employees could help reduce claims while keeping them healthy at the same time.
Communicating to a workforce that gains information through non-traditional or new media channels can be challenging. However, increased employee engagement can come from education, helping to empower and encourage active roles in personal health care.
For more information on this topic, contact an HCW Benefit Consultant or visit the following links: