Patient Perceptions Regarding Electronic Prescriptions: Is the Geriatric Patient Ready?


Address correspondence to Dr. Kate L. Lapane, Department of Community Health, Institute for Community Health Promotion, Brown Medical School, Box G-SM 121, Room 225, Providence, RI 02903.


OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the extent to which electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) alters communication about medication use between geriatric patients and their clinicians, as well as geriatric patients' perceptions regarding e-prescribing.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional.

SETTING: Thirty-five physician practices in six states using e-prescribing.

PARTICIPANTS: Convenience sample of patients (n=244) aged 65 and older.

MEASUREMENTS: Patient perceptions regarding discussions with their doctors regarding medication costs, adherence, and potential side effects, as well as expectations about and satisfaction with e-prescribing collected on a voluntary survey.

RESULTS: Of patients at e-prescribing practices, 53% reported ever receiving e-prescriptions. Patients who reported having e-prescriptions were more likely to feel favorably toward the electronic method, whereas most of those who reported never receiving e-prescriptions preferred paper prescriptions. Patients reporting use of e-prescriptions were somewhat more likely to have adherence discussions often or most of the time than patients who had not used e-prescriptions. Regardless of e-prescribing experience, few patients reported that they would tell their physicians if they did not want a drug or did not plan to pick up the drug from the pharmacy.

CONCLUSION: E-prescribing technology solutions may provide opportunities for earlier and enhanced communication between geriatric patients and their clinicians; geriatric patients may require more education to appreciate the value of e-prescribing.