Surescripts names Mass. No. 1 for e-prescribing

By Bernie Monegain
04:28 PM

As Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) sees it, Massachusetts should serve as an e-prescribing model for the rest of the country.

“Electronic prescribing saves money, improves efficiency and, most importantly, reduces life or death medical errors,” he said at an event last month in the nation’s capital, where the electronic prescribing network Surescripts named Massachusetts the top e-prescribing state for the second year in a row.

By Surescripts’ count, 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, when the Safe-Rx Awards program began. Maine made the top 10 list for the first time.

“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. “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. Jim Bredesen, co-chairman of the State Alliance for e-health.

“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.

“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.” said Peter Basch, MD, medical director for ambulatory clinical systems at MedStar Health.

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