E-prescribing on the Rise

With e-prescribing, the pharmacist receives your prescription before you leave the doctor's office.

"It automatically comes to our computer, we hit a button and print it out," said Dick Storseth, Market Street pharmacist.

This electronic system allows doctors to instantly send prescriptions to the pharmacy. One local doctor says he uses the e-prescribing software for the safety of his patients.

"My chicken scratching is horrible. Sometimes I can't read it," said Dr. Osvaldo Reguiera, Texas Tech pediatric oncologist. "That unfortunately is serious situation where you can have someone misinterpret your prescription. "

Currently, only 13 percent of U.S. doctors use e-prescribing technology. Medical experts project this number will soar to 75 percent within five years.

"You are going to see more and more doctors doing this because of the accuracy, and ease of doing this," Storseth said.

The expense is partially covered by President Obama's economic stimulus plan. The bill allocates $19 billion to promote health care information technology.

"You are going to have to buy the software for medical records," Reguiera added. "So I don't think there is an excuse not to have it."

Storseth says there is opportunity for error. Which is why some prescriptions, including strong pain medications, will still require a handwritten prescription.