E-prescribing has surged in past five years

Electronic prescribing grew significantly from 2008 through 2012, according to a study conducted by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and published last month in the American Journal of Managed Care.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from e-prescribing network Surescripts. They found that:

  • Providers who prescribe through electronic health records increased from 7% in December 2008 to 54% in December 2012;
  • The number of pharmacies actively e-prescribing rose from 70% in December 2008 to 94% in December 2012; and
  • Pharmacies using Surescripts to e-prescribe increased by 24% from December 2008 to December 2012.

In addition, the researchers found that in December 2012:

  • 94% of urban pharmacies were actively accepting e-prescriptions; and
  • 93% of rural pharmacies were actively accepting e-prescriptions.

According to the study authors, prescribing through EHR systems:

  • Correlates with better patient medication adherence; and
  • Improves access to patient medication histories and pharmacy benefit information.

However, the study noted that providers face barriers to e-prescribing, including:

  • Access;
  • Connectivity;
  • Cost; and
  • Resources.

Regional extension centers and health information exchanges have helped providers overcome some of those barriers, according to the researchers (Pedulli, Clinical Innovation & Technology, 10/2; Gabriel et al., American Journal of Managed Care, 9/20; Durben Hirsch, FierceEMR, 9/30).

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