New York State Moving To Electronic Prescriptions


Dr. Michael T. Goldstein, New York County Medical Society President, use a standard prescription pad which is being made obsolete by a new electronic prescription law, Thursday, March 17, 2016, in New York. E-prescribing has surged nationwide in recent years. Every state now allows it, but only New York has a broad requirement that carries penalties. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Over the years more and more documents have been converted into digital–whether it be school records, doctor office records or bank statements but prescriptions are still being handwritten by doctors with illegible writing and hand carried to a pharmacy.   Now it looks as if that’s going to eventually go away as the state of New York is moving to electronic prescriptions and there will be penalties and possibly jail time for prescribers who don’t follow the rules. 

Nothing completely new here, as many prescriptions are already being done electronically these days but it’s just another step in the right direction.   I would assume that eventually the prescription pad will become extinct and everything will be required to be done electronically–it will cut down on forgery and also allow for better tracking on the dishonest pharmacists who are making a living handing out pain medication prescriptions. 

Those of us who work in drug stores will ultimately benefit by not having to store pallets of pharmacy records for 7-10 years, as they are already clogging up our backrooms.  Welcome to the computer age, pharmacists.



“The idea of moving everything electronically is to get a tighter control of everything that is prescribed,” Roger Paganelli, president of the Pharmacists Society of New York, told CBS2.

Paganelli is among the third generation in his family to run the Mount Carmel Pharmacy in the Fordham section in the Bronx. One-third of the prescriptions he fills come in off his computer.

CBS2 reports that moving to electronic prescriptions is not only meant to streamline, but also to keep controlled substances in check. Currently, the state has a database that prescribers can check how many prescriptions their patients are getting, but this will connect the doctors directly to the pharmacists.

“We turn forged prescriptions away every day,” Paganelli told CBS2. “It’s a huge problem. It’s something that’s undeniable.”

More than 90 percent of pharmacies in the state are already equipped to go all-electronic, and hospitals say they’re almost ready, too. Most doctors don’t handwrite prescriptions anymore.

“We haven’t used handwritten prescriptions in years, but we’d still print it out and patients would leave with their prescriptions,” Paul Testa, chief medical information officer of NYU Langone, told CBS2.

Bernice Washburn has already used e-prescriptions and thinks they’re better.

“People tend to forget that they have their prescriptions. They leave them at home or forget where they are,” she told CBS2.

There are some exceptions to the e-prescription mandate. If people are filling prescriptions out of state, they can still get them in paper form.