Newswise — March 22, 2016 - Albany , NY

As New York State shifts away from paper prescriptions, an Albany Medical Center physician leader says electronic prescribing, or "e-prescribing," will lead to improved patient safety and a more efficient prescription process.

As of March 27, 2016, New York State law will require providers, including Albany Medical Center Hospital and its outpatient offices, to stop writing prescriptions and electronically prescribe all medications, including controlled substances. Prescriptions will no longer be handwritten or called into a pharmacy, except in rare circumstances.

Albany Med began e-prescribing earlier this year.

According to Patricia Hale, M.D., associate medical director of informatics at Albany Medical Center, the benefits of e-prescribing include:

• Lower risk of errors due to poor handwriting. • Elimination of miscommunication associated with phoned-in prescriptions. • Prescriptions cannot be lost or fall into the wrong hands. • Computer programs flag prescriptions that may interact with a patient's other medications. • Patient convenience as prescriptions are sent to pharmacy ahead of time.

Additionally, Dr. Hale encourages all Albany Medical Center patients to keep a prescription list of medications they take, including over-the-counter and herbal supplements, and to have that list available when they see their doctor.

"Given the availability of over-the-counter medications and the fact that people often see many different doctors, when health care providers have accurate and updated information about the prescriptions and other drugs patients are taking, the better able we are to deliver safe and appropriate care," Dr. Hale said.

Albany Medical Center, northeastern New York's only academic health sciences center, is one of the largest private employers in the Capital Region. It incorporates the 734-bed Albany Medical Center Hospital, which offers the widest range of medical and surgical services in the region, and the Albany Medical College, which trains the next generation of doctors, scientists and other healthcare professionals, and also includes a biomedical research enterprise and the region's largest physicians practice with more than 450 doctors. Albany Medical Center works with dozens of community partners to improve the region's health and quality of life. For more information: or ###

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