According to a report from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), nearly half of doctors using an EHR are e-prescribing, a sharp increase from just four years ago. In June of this year, ONC said 48 percent of doctors using an EHR were e-prescribing. In December of 2008, this number was at only 7 percent.
The report says every single state has shown a double digit increase in e-prescribing over this four year period, with New Hampshire, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota leading the way. Even states with low 2008 rates of e-prescribing, such as North Dakota and Hawaii, increased by approximately 30 percent, the report says.
Furthermore, the report explains, “The growth in e-prescribing has not been limited to physicians. In the same period, the percent of community pharmacies enabled to accept e-prescriptions grew from 76 percent to 94 percent.”
The reasons for this growth are explained in a ONC blog post. One explanation, the ONC blog post authors say, is e-prescribing has been cited in various studies as an effective way to reduce EHR produced prescribing errors, by as much as 1.5 percent. They also promoted various regulatory efforts to get providers e-prescribing.
“At ONC, the State Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement Program (State HIE Program) has focused on promoting pharmacy participation in e-prescribing among physicians and pharmacists. ONC’s 62 Regional Extension Centers are also helping primary care providers from individual and small practice settings across the United States adopt and use EHRs to meet the meaningful use objectives and help to provide safer care to their patients,” the bloggers wrote.