This certainly makes sense in today’s era of everything being connected to be e-prescribing. Going back in history just a few years there was a level of separation between EHRs and e-prescribing but not any more. It would almost be a waste of time to use a medical records system and not include e-prescribing as the data all connects and make life easier. Many doctors did start out with e-prescribing and then added their medical records system later. Incentives have been in place since 2010.
Surescripts is the network that handle most of the e-prescribing transactions across the US. Some states like Massachusetts were way ahead of others and the state of Iowa came in at 73% of their doctors e-prescribing. In addition today most pharmacies are ready and equipped to handle the electronic transactions versus the old style papers and they can read them too.
As a reminder, e-prescribing Medicare incentives are 1% of the total estimated allowed charges for services provided under Medicare Part B for this year. It was to everyone’s advantage to begin a couple years ago but there’s still money on the table for the next two years. Next year it drops down to a half of a percent. There are a few hardship cases to where an exception is possible and you have until January 31st of 2013 to apply. Providers are otherwise subject to payment cuts from Medicare starting next year. E-prescribing is also included in meeting the overall standards of Meaningful Use so again it makes sense to keep it all together and earn the stimulus money before the penalties begin.
The percent of physicians e-prescribing using EHRs swelled from 7 percent in December 2008 to 48 percent in June 2012, according to a report released Nov. 27 from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.
Surescripts is a leading e-prescribing network, which is used by 95 percent of pharmacies for routing prescriptions, excluding closed systems such as Kaiser Permanente.
Physicians weren’t the only segment to adopt e-prescribing widely. The vast majority of community and chain pharmacies are now able to accept prescriptions sent electronically, the report said.