E-Prescribing Preferences, Perceptions Among Older Adults

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Not only do a majority of older patients expect e-prescriptions, but 81% preferred e-prescriptions to paper in a study published in the Perspectives in Health Information Management.

Not only do a majority of older patients expect e-prescriptions, but 81% preferred e-prescriptions to paper in a study published in the American Health Information Management Association’s Perspectives in Health Information Management.

Loren J. Schleiden and Olufunmilola K. Odukoya, PhD, BPharm, from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, and Michelle A. Chui, PhD, PharmD, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy, surveyed 75 participants aged 50 years and older on general medication-taking behavior and experiences with e-prescribing.

The authors found that 84% of participants expect e-prescriptions, although only 76% (57) of respondents have experience with their doctors sending prescriptions electronically. Of those, 93% report being very satisfied with the physician and 84% were very satisfied with the pharmacist.


“This study shows that nearly all patients are satisfied with their prescriber and pharmacy in sending and dealing with e-prescriptions, and e-prescribing is now preferred by a majority of older adults over paper prescribing because of the added convenience to the patient,” the authors wrote.

Only 8 participants preferred paper prescriptions with reasons as feeling more control, being interested in their medications, and not getting medications filled right away.

Overall, most participants often reported that they were aware of their medications and often ensured that the medications they received at the pharmacy were what the doctor actually prescribed electronically. Furthermore, 20% said their physician gave them a list of the e-prescribed medications and only 5.3% said they did not know that the medications at the pharmacy were the ones the physician prescribed.

“The increased convenience of e-prescribing may be advantageous to patients, but perhaps the more important factor to consider is the impact of e-prescribing use and perceptions of e-prescribing on patient-provider communication and trust in healthcare providers, considering the potential positive impact on medication-taking behaviors,” the authors wrote.

Participants using e-prescribing reported more communication with their doctor at their most recent appointment. They had higher rates of discussion the importance of taking medications, the potential side effects, and the cost of medications. However, the cost of medications was least discussed among all respondents. Only 14.3% of patients using e-prescriptions and no patients using paper prescriptions discussed cost with their doctor.

Despite the findings, most patients did not believe e-prescribing had improved their adherence to medications.

“Though results from other survey items show higher reported satisfaction, greater preference, and more-frequent medication-related discussions with providers, participants did not seem to believe that these qualities have an impact on how they respond to paper versus electronic prescriptions,” the authors concluded.