Loose ends should be tied to make e-prescribing a reality

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT Relative to the national chains, independent pharmacies have limited resources and, given the importance and benefit of e-prescribing, further helping to facilitate the adoption of e-prescribing via grants — not to mention facilitating two-way communication between prescribers and pharmacists — is critical to help push overall adoption closer to the finish line.

THE NEWS: (NCPA: E-prescribing should be more efficient in two-way communication, cost. For the full story, click here)

As stated in the article, the National Community Pharmacists Association, at a recent e-prescribing committee, recommended providing grants to offset implementation and transaction fee costs and making two-way communication between prescribers and pharmacists easier.

In written testimony at a hearing of the Department of Health and Human Services' Health Information Technology Policy Committee Information Exchange Workgroup, the NCPA acknowledged that community pharmacists have a vested interest in making e-prescribing work but yet cost challenges remain.

E-prescribing has been praised ­especially in recent years ­ as it has been shown to increase the likelihood that patients will get their prescriptions filled and, in turn, avoid more expensive medical procedures. There's also less of a chance for errors compared with paper prescriptions.

E-prescribing has achieved impressive milestones in recent years but the journey is far from over. In October 2009, e-prescribing network provider Surescripts announced that 23% of all office-based physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants in the United States are now e-prescribing. At that rate, Surescripts projected that its total number of active e-prescribers in 2009 would more than double the 74,000 active e-prescribers at the end of 2008.

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