Federal incentives to support health IT have aided in the growth of the nation's use of electronic prescription by 72 percent in 2010, according to a new report from Surescripts.
Surescripts announced the release of "The National Progress Report on E-Prescribing and Interoperable Healthcare" for 2010 on Thursday. The report is the fourth in an annual series that tracks the status of e-prescribing adoption and use in the United States. This year's report measures the growth of e-prescribing from 2008 – before the advent of federal incentives – through 2010 and includes new data that provides further detail on physician adoption of e-prescribing and electronic health records.
The number of prescribers routing prescriptions electronically grew from 74,000 at the end of 2008 to 234,000 by the end of 2010 – representing 34 percent of all office-based prescribers and 36 percent of office-based physicians. E-prescribing adoption rates are highest among cardiologists (49 percent) and family practitioners (47 percent). In terms of practice size, adoption rates are highest among practices with five to 10 physicians (44 percent) and two to five physicians (42 percent).
Other highlights from the report include:
- The number of electronic prescriptions in 2010 grew to 326 million up from 190 million e-prescriptions in 2009. By the end of 2010, approximately 25 percent of eligible prescriptions were prescribed electronically.
- In 2010, approximately twice as many patient visits to doctors' offices included the opportunity for physicians to access a patient's prescription benefit information and medication history in order to prescribe safer and lower cost prescriptions.
- At the end of 2010, approximately 91 percent of community pharmacies and six of the largest mail-order pharmacies in the United States were able to receive prescriptions electronically.
"Electronic prescribing is now well on its way to becoming mainstream practice," said Harry Totonis, president and CEO of Surescripts. "The vision that pharmacies and PBMs had over 10 years ago – replacing phone-, fax- and paper-based prescribing with e-prescribing -- is being realized today through improved medication management, increased patient convenience and reduced costs for all.
"What's more, the factors behind the growth in e-prescribing are serving as a model for broader adoption and use of health IT," said Totonis. "E-prescribing has grown based on the unprecedented collaboration between the public and private sectors and the realization of tangible benefits by all participants. We at Surescripts are working to leverage this experience and our commitment to neutrality, collaboration and transparency in order to expand meaningful use, improve healthcare outcomes and lower costs."