As NY demands paperless prescribing, doctors are mixed

The scribbled, cryptic doctor’s prescription note is headed toward eradication in New York, where the nation’s toughest paperless-prescribing requirement takes effect March 27.

Instead of handing patients slips of paper, physicians soon must electronically send orders directly to pharmacies for everything from antibiotics to cholesterol pills to painkillers, with some exceptions. Otherwise, prescribers face the possibility of fines, license loss or even jail.

E-prescribing has surged nationwide in recent years. Every state now allows it, but only New York has a broad requirement that carries penalties.

The requirement is meant to fight painkiller abuse, reduce errors and expand a practice that doctors and patients often find convenient.

But physicians say digital scripts can present roadblocks for some patients and doctors shouldn’t have to fear punishment over a prescription format.

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