E-Prescribing Benefits All PIH Primary Care Patients


Calling your pharmacy direct makes getting routine prescriptions refilled easier, faster and more efficient for all Partners in Health primary care patients, thanks to an e-prescribing system connecting PIH and pharmacies.  Some patients have been using the system for several months.

    Effective November 1, 2011, all patients of physicians in our Primary Care Division (Family Practice, Internal Medicine, and Pulmonary Medicine) are to call their pharmacy for refills of routine medications.  The pharmacy will contact PIH electronically for authorization.  This new approach does not apply to all patients of the PIH Women’s Center at this time.

What is E-Prescribing?     With a click of a few buttons, our physicians will electronically authorize a prescription refill request you make from your pharmacy.  Studies have shown that use of e-prescribing reduces medication errors (no handwritten prescriptions that may be difficult to decipher and no need for staff at both the physician’s office and pharmacy to “pass the message” from physician to pharmacist).  E-prescribing gets your medication in your hands sooner.

How does the e-prescribing process work for prescription refills?    When all prescribed refills on a routine medication have been exhausted, the patient contacts the pharmacy to renew the prescription.  The pharmacy then contacts the physician directly with a paperless electronic renewal request.   The physician reviews the request on his/her computer screen, and makes any needed adjustments to strength, dose, number of pills to be dispensed, and/or number of refills permitted.   The physician approves the request by entering a unique password known only to the physician, and “sends” a paperless electronic prescription directly to the pharmacy via a secure, encrypted electronic path.  The entire process is safe, secure, confidential, and fast.  Refill requests can be sent electronically to local and to mail-order pharmacies.  Virtually 100% of pharmacies in the U.S. are enrolled in e-prescribing.

When should the patient call our office?    If there has been a change in the patient’s condition or the patient has other questions or concerns about refilling a routine prescription, the patient should call our office.  Otherwise, requests for refills should be made direct to the pharmacy.


What is the patient’s role in e-prescribing?    For many patients, nothing will change.  When you are running low on your supply of a particular prescription medication, simply contact your pharmacy directly to request a refill.  Most pharmacies have 24-hour refill systems.  The pharmacy will take it from there, forwarding an electronic request to your PIH physician.  The system works at top efficiency when you request refills directly from the pharmacy, which in turn sends the request electronically to the physician.  Once the patient has contacted the pharmacy, there is no need to place an additional call to PIH.    Note:  Effective November 1, 2011, our office will no longer accept calls from patients requesting refills on routine prescriptions.  Instead, we will ask you to contact your pharmacy directly so they can request your refills electronically.  This new approach will help us serve you better.

What medications cannot be obtained by calling the pharmacy for a refill?   To request a new medication for treatment of an acute problem, you will need to call the office.  In addition, for safety and security, some controlled substances/narcotic medications may not be refilled electronically.  In certain cases, a handwritten prescription must be completed by the physician.   If you need refills for such a medication, these will need to be requested by calling the office.


What if I change pharmacies?    If you are changing pharmacies, you may be able to ask your old pharmacy to transfer your prescriptions to your new pharmacy.  If a pharmacy-to-pharmacy transfer is not possible, you will need to call our office the first time you request medications from the new pharmacy.  We will adjust your records and submit your prescriptions electronically to your new pharmacy.  From that point on, you should call the pharmacy to request refills.



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