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Iowa To Start Requiring Electronic Prescriptions

Starting Jan. 1, Iowa doctors and pharmacists will no longer be able to use written prescriptions on pads, like the one pictured above. According to a state mandate, all prescriptions must be submitted electronically.

Starting January 1, a mandate goes into effect requiring all Iowa health care providers, except veterinarians, to submit prescriptions electronically.

This means Iowans will no longer receive paper prescriptions to take to pharmacies. 

Instead, providers now send prescriptions directly to the patient’s pharmacy through a secure device and a special software program.

“E-prescribing has been shown to decrease prescribing and medication errors, and enhance the safety of and quality of the prescribing process,” said Andrew Funk, the executive director of the Iowa Board of Pharmacy, in a statement. “It’s also an important part of the fight against opioid misuse, as e-prescriptions are much less likely to be falsified.

Tim McCoy, the chair of family medicine at Mercy One Central Iowa, said patients have benefitted from the system it launched in its clinics last September.

"It does speed up things for nursing staff and patients don't have to come to the pharmacy -- or come to the clinic -- to take a written prescription," McCoy said. "A lot of my patients are elderly, and someone that has to come pick a script up, or they couldn't get to the clinic."

The Iowa legislature passed the mandate in 2018. Fourteen other states also require e-prescriptions. 

Natalie Krebs is IPR's Health Reporter