Electric Medicine

Andrei Marks · August 18, 2007

This one’s from the 2007-08-18 print of the Beijing Paper (新京报). It was on page A21, no author listed, and it’s from a Xinhua Press dispatch. This one is related to healthcare in the United States.


America’s Nationwide Electronic Prescription System Opens

- Patients can use electronic prescriptions to pick up medicine from pharmacies in every state throughout the country.

The American state of Alaska received the electronic prescription system this week, becoming the last state to be added to the system. Now America’s patients can use the electronic prescriptions written by their doctors to pick up medicine from pharmacies of all 50 states.

In the last year, Georgia, South Carolina, and West Virginia have all entered the system, and the addition of Alaska has completed the nationwide network.

In contrast with written prescriptions, electronic prescriptions have clear advantages. They will reduce the likelihood of pharmacists giving out wrong prescriptions because they are unable to read a doctor’s handwriting, and will also reduce the amount of work that will have to be done by the medical and insurance industries. Because the prescriptions entered into the system will go directly to the pharmacists, this can prevent the likelihood of counterfeit prescriptions. And for patients travelling to places without having brought their medical records with them, electronic prescriptions are a great convenience.

An Alaskan representative, democrat Bessie Davis, says that although the promotion of electronic prescriptions in Alaska still needs some time, in the end these types of prescriptions will be a great convenience to many people. She said, “I hope we will as fast as possible become a part of this new system, the overall proportion isn’t strong.”

However, there are also those who think that electronic prescriptions will bring no small amount of problems themselves. A few people believe that electronic prescriptions will be vulnerable to computer attacks by hackers, and that it will be difficult for some doctors, who have for so long written out prescriptions, to alter their habits. The Alaskan Pharmacists Union Executive Chairperson Nancy Davis said, “Doing this will have a big effect on some smaller pharmacies.” She continued to say that electronic prescriptions require a high speed integrated network and special internet services, and at the same time new software must be bought, and all of this will increase the costs of implementation.

Translator’s notes:
- I’m pretty sure the name Bessie Davis translates as such, I can’t find her on the internet, maybe she’s a state rep?
- The line “the overall proportion isn’t strong”, I’m very sorry, sounds like a babelfish translation. It’s a phrase I really can’t figure out, I’m going to ask my tutor tomorrow and I’ll get back to this.
- Nice and fast little article, about healthcare, which is different then what I’ve done before, but I think I’d like to do some articles that have to do more with science or medicine themselves. I feel like I’d have a stronger background in those subjects. Unfortunately the Beijing Paper, which I usually buy, is more of a current events publication, and it doesn’t have a section devoted to science, just stories every once in a while.
- AP Press article about media censorship in China:

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