MONDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Linking doctors' offices
with pharmacies via electronic health records improves the number
of patients who follow doctor's orders on medications for chronic
illnesses, a new study suggests.
The research included more than 12,00 men and women who were
given new prescriptions for diabetes, blood pressure or cholesterol
medications over a period of 18 months.
All of the patients were patients at Kaiser Permanente Colorado,
where the pharmacy and doctor's offices are all part of the same
system and are linked using electronic medical records. Medication
orders are sent electronically, rather than using traditional paper
Previous research has found that up to 22 percent of patients in
healthcare systems not integrated with pharmacies fail to fill new
But the new study found that only 7 percent of the Kaiser
patients neglected to fill their prescriptions for blood pressure
medication, while 11 percent failed to pick up new prescriptions
for diabetes medications and 13 percent did not pick up cholesterol
The study is published online Sept. 6 in the
Journal of General Internal Medicine.
"Given that adherence to medications is directly associated with improved clinical outcomes, higher quality of life and lower health care costs across many chronic conditions, it is important to examine why some people never start the medications their doctors prescribe," the study's lead author Marsha Raebel, an investigator in pharmacotherapy with the Kaiser Permanente Colorado Institute for Health Research, said in a Kaiser news release.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides more