Massachusetts named top state for e-prescribing

By Bernie Monegain
10:35 AM

Massachusetts has been named the top e-prescribing state for the second year in a row by Surescripts.

The Alexandia, Va.-based electronic prescribing network made the announcement Monday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., where it named the top 10 e-prescribers for 2008 and listed rankings and progress reports on e-prescribing use and adoption for all 50 states. Maine made the top-10 list for the first time.

According to Surescripts, prescribers in Massachusetts sent more than 6.7 million prescriptions electronically in 2008, representing 20.5 percent of all eligible prescriptions in the state – as compared to 2.3 percent in 2005.

"Congratulations to all the Safe-Rx Award winners for increasing the use of e-prescribing and for the benefit it has brought to the economy, safety and quality of patient care in communities throughout their states," said Harry Totonis, president and CEO of Surescripts. "And as much as this program is about measuring and recognizing real success, its greater purpose is to highlight the leaders who are driving that success and the stories of how they are doing it. As the numbers and rankings suggest, each year there are more and more examples of how a state and the various stakeholders within the state can work together to drive e-prescribing adoption and use. We congratulate those leaders and hope that their examples will inspire and inform many more successful efforts in many more states in the year ahead."

"The Massachusetts model should serve as a roadmap for the rest of the nation," said U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). "Electronic prescribing saves money, improves efficiency and, most importantly, reduces life or death medical errors. While we debate how to reform our healthcare system, improve quality and lower costs, one of our top priorities should include modernizing the way physicians write prescriptions."

"The State Alliance recognized early on that encouraging states to make e-prescribing a top priority would have an immense value in our electronic health efforts," said Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, co-chairman of the State Alliance for e-health. "Paperless prescribing is making its way into the healthcare mainstream in Tennessee and across the nation. It's our hope to see e-prescribing become a natural part of every healthcare provider's workflow because of its practical benefits to patients in providing better care."

"To the State Alliance, e-prescribing is important to building momentum toward the goals of an effective healthcare system and improved public health," said Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, co-chairman of the group.

List of the top 10 e-prescribing states and individual physician rankings on the next page...

In its first three years, Surescripts gave the Safe-Rx Award annually to the top 10 e-prescribing states. In an effort to measure and recognize critical progress occurring outside states that finished in the top 10, Surescripts has introduced a new category, the Top 5 Most Improved

Top 10 e-prescribing states    

  1. Massachusetts                                           
  2. Rhode Island                                              
  3. Michigan                                                    
  4. Nevada                                                      
  5. Delaware                                                    
  6. North Carolina
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. Connecticut
  9. Maine
  10. Arizona

The top five most improved:

  1. Vermont
  2. Tennessee
  3. Kansas
  4. Illinois
  5. Missouri

E-prescribers of the Year

This year, Surescripts recognized six prescribers for leadership they have shown through their own use of e-prescribing. Three users of standalone e-prescribing software and three users of electronic medical record software received Safe-Rx Awards and were recognized as E-Prescribers of the Year:

Standalone e-prescribing Users

  • Amando Garza, MD, Laredo, Texas
  • Steven Green, MD, Lancaster, Ky.
  • Abdul Kabir, MD, Monroe, Mich.

EMR users

  • Narinda Batra, MD, Adrian, Mich.
  • Michael Brewer, MD, Springfield, Ill.
  • Mark Earhart, Watkinsville, Ga.

"More and more doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants are turning to e-prescribing for the safety, efficiency and quality advantages it provides them and their patients," said Peter Basch, MD, medical director for ambulatory clinical systems at MedStar Health. "In fact, for many clinicians, their introduction to and use of e-prescribing has helped them emerge as leaders in their communities towards the effective use of health information technology as part of everyday medical care."