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Report: E-prescribing Up but Physician Adoption Still Low

June 11, 2008
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Despite the recent rapid growth of e-prescribing, adoption is still lagging among physicians, according to a report developed by the Washington, D.C.-based eHealth Initiative (eHI) and The Center for Improving Medication Management (The Center).

The report — which summarizes the national experience with e-prescribing over the past four years from its pilot phase to its present day use — examines the progress that has been made, obstacles that remain, and recommendations for helping prescribers migrate from paper-based prescriptions to an electronic system, state the organizations.

According to findings, more than 35 million prescription transactions were sent electronically in 2007, marking a 170 percent increase over the previous year. However, adoption numbers at the end of 2007 represent only about six percent of physicians; consequently, only two percent of the prescriptions eligible for electronic routing in 2007 were transmitted electronically.

Entitled, “Electronic Prescribing: Becoming Mainstream Practice,” the report outlines additional steps that eHI and The Center say should be taken to realize optimal results in healthcare improvement. It includes corresponding guides that offer information for healthcare payers to support effective adoption, and for consumers to better understand e-prescribing’s benefits and use.

Among the most significant challenges listed in the report that limit widespread adoption of e-prescribing technology are financial burdens, workflow changes and change management, continued needs for greater connectivity and medication history. In order to address these barriers and move e-prescribing into mainstream practice, the report provides the following recommendations:

· Adoption and effective use of e-prescribing.

· Replicate and expand successful incentive programs.

· Address the DEA ban on e-prescribing controlled substances.

· Create a public-private multi-stakeholder e-prescribing advisory body.

· All stakeholders should advance the e-prescribing infrastructure.

· Continue development of additional standards for e-prescribing.

eHI and The Center have also announced a collaboration with the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American College of Physicians (ACP), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) to create a detailed practical guide for prescribers.

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