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Study: E-Prescribing Reduces Adverse Events in Ambulatory Setting

May 12, 2015
by Gabriel Perna
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Ambulatory providers that electronically prescribe (e-prescribe) medication within their electronic health record (EHR) are at a reduced risk for having an adverse drug event (ADE) among diabetes patients, according to new research.
The researchers, from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) as well as former National Coordinator, Farzad Mostashari, M.D., looked at a database of Medicare beneficiaries to determine whether or not ambulatory providers who met the meaningful use Stage 2 threshold for e-prescribing had lower rates of ADEs among diabetic patients. 
What they found was that higher e-prescribers were significantly less likely to have a diabetic patient hospitalized for an ADE.  
Higher e-prescribers had a rate of 3.45 ADEs per 1,000 patients while lower e-prescribers had a rate of 3.95. Furthermore, while 5.3 percent of high e-prescribers had at least one ADE in their panel, 6.5 percent of low e-prescribers had one. When weighted by panel size, the numbers were even father apart, 7.9 percent for high e-prescribers and 9.4 percent for low e-prescribers. 
The researchers acknowledge that patients from disadvantaged populations were not included in this lowered rate of ADEs. They say that influence comes largely from the provider side of ADE prevention. They say that "future evaluation should explore whether there are disparities by patient race and income in both access to e-prescribing providers and risk of ADEs."
A data brief from the ONC last year found that e-prescribing is on the rise. Using data from Surescripts, an Arlington, Va.-based operator of a national clinical electronic network, ONC reported that 70 percent of physicians were e-Prescribing using an electronic health record (EHR) as of April of 2014. 


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