Electronic prescriptions lead to better adherence rates for medications

Following the doctor's orders to a T by taking medication on time is a crucial aspect of recovery, yet so many patients fail. Could it be the difference between electronic and paper prescriptions that leads to low medication adherence? That’s what researchers from the University of North Carolina set to find out.

Improperly taking medications leads to poorer health outcomes, and patients repeatedly fail to refill prescriptions. The research team, whose study was published in JAMA Dermatol, analyzed if there was a difference in medication adherence between electronic and paper prescriptions in an attempt to find exactly what kept patients away from their medications.

The study measured the primary nonadherence rates in 2,496 patients who were given 4,3018 dermatologic prescriptions over the period of a year.

Results showed the following:

  • Overall, rates of nonadherence topped 31.6 percent.
  • The rate of nonadherence was 16 percent less for patients given electronic prescriptions.
  • Nonadherence decreased with age until 70 years old, when rates increased.
  • The number of medications prescribed had no significant changed in nonadherence.
  • English speaking patients had the highest rate of nonadherence when compared to patients speaking Spanish or other languages.

“In this study, we demonstrated that e-prescribing is associated with reduced rates of primary non-adherence," said Adewole S. Adamson, MD, assistant professor of dermatology. "As the health 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 prescriptions. Primary nonadherence is a common and pervasive problem. Steps should be taken to better understand why primary nonadherence happens and how it can be improved."


Cara Livernois, News Writer

Cara joined TriMed Media in 2016 and is currently a Senior Writer for Clinical Innovation & Technology. Originating from Detroit, Michigan, she holds a Bachelors in Health Communications from Grand Valley State University.

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