New Technology Provides Safer Way to Get Medications

Doctor Lance Kurata
Doctor Lance Kurata

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Prescribing medications using pen and paper could be a thing of the past.

A new method called E-Prescribing is a more efficient, more convenient and safer way to get medications.

Doctor Lance Kurata prescribes about 30 medications a day, using this new technology.

"It's electronic prescriptions. In the past, we've done hand-written prescribing you know about doctors how notorious we are about handwriting and now we're going to direct electronics transmissions to the pharmacists."

It reduces the number of medicine mix ups. According to the National Institute of Medicine, prescription medication errors kill about 7,000 people each year, and injure nearly 1.5 million.

"I have a lot of older patients who take at least five medications per day and although I don't know it, I'm sure I've made some errors and so E-Prescribing is a way of increasing the value for patients, decreasing costs, decreasing errors."

About 70% of the nation's pharmacies accept E-Prescriptions but only 6% of doctors use it.

They say the reluctance to start is the cost, which is close to $20,000 dollars.

Lawmakers, including some here in Hawaii propose tax breaks to help.

"We have Business Enterprise Zones which gives people preferential tax status if they're gonna do small business in the State of Hawaii, I like to see that applied to health care providers too," said Rep. Josh Green, (D) Kona.

For now, Doctor Kurata says he's not doing it for an incentive.

"I'm just doing it for the love of my patients."

HMSA has put up a significant grant to help doctors implement the program.

The Independent Physician Association, has also been working on a grant.