E-prescribing growing among EHR users

January 31, 2013

E-prescribing has increased dramatically since 2008, according to a recent data brief from the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology.

E-prescribing has increased dramatically since 2008, according to a recent data brief from the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology.

The brief, “State Variation in E-Prescribing Trends in the United States,” details the changes in e-prescribing between December 2008 and June 2012. Authors Meghan Hufstader, Ph.D.; Matthew Swain; and Michael F. Furukawa, Ph.D., of the ONC’s Office of Economic Analysis, Evaluation, and Modeling, used data from the Surescripts network to track physician e-prescribing, the expansion in pharmacies’ capability to receive prescriptions sent electronically, and the growth in the volume of e-prescriptions on both the state and national levels.

The authors found that as of June 2012, the number of physicians e-prescribing with an electronic health record (EHR) had increased by 41 percent since 2008. This implies that the increase in e-prescribing can be directly linked to a corresponding increase in EHR implementation and usage.

According to the brief:

  • ‡ The percent of physicians e-prescri­bing with an EHR increased from 7 percent in December 2008 to 48 percent by June 2012.

  • ‡ Increases occurred in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

  • ‡ Twenty-three states had more than half of their physicians e-prescribing using an EHR, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, and Wisconsin experiencing the largest increases since December 2008.

  • ‡ In the same period, the percent of community pharmacies capable of accepting e-prescriptions grew from 76 to 94 percent.

  • ‡ Wyoming, Nebraska, and Kansas experiencing the largest increases in community pharmacies enabled to accept e-prescriptions.

  • ‡ The states with the largest percentage of pharmacies able to accept e-prescriptions are Delaware (98 percent), Rhode Island (97 percent), and Nevada (96 percent). These states also had the highest percentages in December 2008.

  • ‡ Minnesota (75 percent), Ohio (73 percent), and Missouri (65 percent) have the highest rates of new and renewal prescriptions sent electronically.

  • ‡ The study does not indicate whether increased e-prescribing has reduced the rate of medication errors. The complete brief is available for download on the ONC’s website, www.HealthIT.gov, in the Newsroom section.

Meaningful use attestation

“Time is running out for eligible professionals to receive their share of the (meaningful use) incentives under Medicare,” Steven Waldren, M.D., director of the American Academy of Family Physicians’ (AAFP) Center for Health Information Technology, told attendees at a session of the AAFP’s 2012 annual meeting. “And there are penalties for not achieving meaningful use by the end of 2014.”

In their presentation, Dr. Waldren and Jason Mitchell, M.D., assistant director of the center, explained that physicians first must familiarize themselves with the specific requirements for attesting to meaningful use stages 1 and 2, and then thoroughly analyze their practices’ capabilities to meet the requirements.

The AAFP has published additional resources for attaining meaningful use on its website, www.aafp.org. Dr. Waldren said he plans to conduct a Web-based seminar on attestation in spring 2013. DT