Paper Rxs are quickly becoming a thing of the past


Seven out of 10 prescribers use e-prescribing, and virtually all pharmacies are now equipped to receive them.

Seven out of 10 prescribers use e-prescribing, and virtually all pharmacies are now equipped to receive electronic prescriptions, a recent government report has found.

The report, “E-Prescribing Trends in the United States,” was produced by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. Using data from Surescripts, the report’s authors examined trends in e-prescribing. Their analysis included all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as chain, franchise, and independent pharmacies.

According to the report, significant increases in e-prescribing can be attributed to the 2008 Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act and to incentive programs established by Medicare and Medicaid that began in 2011.

Read the DT Blog: Electronic prescriptions: Return to sender

Prescriber numbers

In 2008, a mere 7% of healthcare providers were prescribing electronically. The report also noted the following:

• In December 2008, in all but one state, physicians on the Surescripts Network were using EHR to e-prescribe at a rate
below 20%.

• By January 2011, physicians in 35 states were e-prescribing with EHR at a rate above 20%, with five states above 40%.

• By April 2014, physicians in every state were e-prescribing with EHR at a rate above 40%, and in 28 states, that number reached at least 70% of physicians.


Pharmacy numbers

“The growth in e-prescribing has not been limited to physicians. In that same period [2008 to 2014], the percent of community pharmacies enabled to accept e-prescriptions grew from 76% to 96%,” the reported stated. “Nearly all community pharmacies are enabled to accept e-prescriptions in Delaware (99%) and Maine (99%).”

According to the report, 57% of new and refill prescriptions were sent electronically in 2013, and as of April 2014, nine of 10 pharmacies in every state were able to accept e-prescriptions.

Minnesota (89%), Wisconsin (83%), and Massachusetts (77%) had the highest rate of new prescriptions and refills sent electronically.

“However, the four states with the highest volume of prescriptions - California, Texas, New York, and Florida - are all below the national average,” the report said. “This presents an opportunity to increase the proportion of new and renewals sent electronically among these states.”

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