E-prescribing makes huge gains
The prevalence of prescribing via electronic health records has skyrocketed over the past decade. Almost unheard of in 2006, nowadays more than 70 percent of physicians e-prescribe, according to new data from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.
[See also: E-prescribing grows despite complaints]
Thanks in large part to two federal initiatives – first the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, or MIPPA, and later meaningful use – e-prescribing has made huge gains through the first quarter of 2014, the report from ONC's Meghan Hufstader Gabriel and Matthew Swain shows.
Using data from Surescripts, the nation's largest e-prescription network, the study shows a steep and steady climb for eRx – from 7 percent in 2008, when MIPPA was passed, to 24 percent in 2011, when meaningful kicked off, to 70 percent today.
[See also: eRx rate in NY state to see 'explosive growth']
The growth has occurred nationwide, Gabriel and Swain point out. At the end of 2008, only one state, Massachusetts, had physicians prescribing via EHR on the Surescripts network at a rate that exceeded 20 percent.
Just over two years later, in January 2011, 35 states could boast e-prescribing rates above 20 percent, with five states above 40 percent.
By this past spring, those numbers were even higher, with every state above 40 percent and 28 states exceeding 70 percent of their physicians using EHRs to prescribe. Minnesota, which stood at 100 percent; Iowa, at 95 percent; and Massachusetts, at 94 percent, had the highest rate of physicians e-prescribing as of April 2014.
Beyond the doctor's office, e-prescribing has made even bigger gains in pharmacies – in the same period, the percentage of community pharmacies nationwide wired to accept prescriptions via EHR has reached 96 percent. Maine and Delaware are the top two states, with 99 percent each.
Meanwhile the number of new and renewal prescriptions sent electronically has increased a whopping 14-fold, according to the ONC report. In 2008, just 4 percent of new and renewal prescriptions were sent electronically. By 2013, that number was 57 percent.
Interestingly, the four states with highest volume of prescriptions – California, Texas, New York and Florida – are all below the national average, Gabriel and Swain show, which "presents an opportunity to increase the proportion of new and renewals sent electronically among these states."