Be Warned: e-Prescribing's 6 Big Challenges for Doctors

Kenneth J. Terry, MA


November 01, 2012

In This Article

Formularies: Not Always Complete or Reliable

Surescripts reported that at the end of 2011, electronic responses to e-prescribers requesting prescription benefits for patients had increased 87% compared with 2010, and responses were provided in nearly 2 of 3 patient visits.[3] Nevertheless, Waldren says, physicians continue to complain about the formularies that are available to them through Surescripts.

According to a physician survey that the HSC published in May 2011, formulary data were available on 50% to 80% of patients.[4] But even when the information was there, respondents said, it was often out of date or of limited value. The doctors also wanted more specific information on patient copayments and whether a medication requires prior authorization from the patient's health plan.

The physicians we interviewed, however, were not dissatisfied with their access to formularies. Stephen Mascio said that the amount of time it took to download benefit information had decreased. And Robert Lamberts said he found Surescripts' formulary data to be pretty reliable. "It's not 100%, but it's nice to know when there are alternatives and when this drug is better than that drug on the formulary. Even if it's accurate only 50% of the time, that means you get help 50% of time, and that's not bad."