Study: More Than Half Now Write “e-prescriptions”
AJMC Study: More Than Half Now Write “e-prescriptions”
Changes to federal law encouraging the use of e-prescriptions may have helped cause a jump in their use from 2008 through 2012. E-scripts are seen as a tool to reduce medical errors.
PLAINSBORO, N.J. – More than half of those who write prescriptions today do so electronically, according to a study published this month in The American Journal of Managed Care. The increase is nearly eight times the number who were writing e-prescriptions just four years ago, the study found.
The jump comes after a federal law that took effect in 2009, which provided incentives for Medicare providers to write prescriptions electronically. E-prescriptions are encouraged to eliminate medical errors and improve patient medication adherence. For the full study, http://www.ajmc.com/publications/issue/2013/2013-1-vol19-n9/Emerging-and...
Led by Meghan H. Gabriel, PhD, of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT in Washington, D.C., researchers studied the rise in e-prescription use from December 2008 to December 2012 by examining data from Surescripts. This leading e-prescription network serves more than 240 million patients nationwide through most chain, franchise and independent pharmacies.
Data revealed that during the study period, the share of doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants who used e-prescriptions jumped from 7 percent to 54 percent; or 47,000 to 398,000. The share of prescriptions written electronically rose from 4 percent to an estimated 45 percent over the same period, with 86 percent of prescribers using electronic health records (EHRs).
Meanwhile, the share of pharmacies able to accept e-prescriptions rose as well. At the start of the study period, 70 percent or 43,000 pharmacies could accept electronic prescriptions, and by December 2012, 24 percent or 59,000 were able to do so.
The study described changes in federal law that provided incentives for physicians and pharmacies to convert to e-prescriptions, as well as grants that helped rural communities close technological gaps. In 2008, only 61 percent of rural pharmacies could take e-prescriptions, compared to 75 percent of urban pharmacies. By 2012, this gap had closed (93 percent of rural and 94 percent of urban pharmacies could take e-prescriptions).
In 2003, Congress passed the Medicare Modernization Act, which was followed by federal regulations and changes to state laws in 2006 that allowed exchanges of electronic information. In 2008, Congress passed the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA), which provided incentives to Medicare providers to use e-prescriptions.
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Posted: October 2013