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NEW YORK Surescripts’ announcement that more than 100,000 physicians have jumped aboard the e-prescribing bandwagon is an important milestone for the industry as one of the major hurdles for e-prescribing has been physician adoption.
As stated in the article, by the end of 2008, there were 74,000 doctors actively prescribing electronically, compared with 36,000 at the end of 2007. This means that physician adoption has increased more than 100% between 2008 and 2007.
What’s even more important is that these numbers will likely ramp up quickly in light of incentives created under the Medicare reform and HIT stimulus.
In fact, a recent Pharmaceutical Care Management Association study found that financial incentives for physicians to adopt health information technology included in the recent economic stimulus bill will increase the number of prescribers using electronic prescribing to more than 75% over the next five years — nearly double the rate of use anticipated after passage of last year’s e-prescribing legislation.
The study also found that e-prescribing will help prevent 3.5 million medication errors and save the federal government $22 billion in drug and medical costs over the next 10 years.
“E-prescribing saves lives, lowers costs and will substantially finance the government?s overall HIT investment in the new stimulus law,” stated PCMA president and CEO Mark Merritt in announcing the study findings.
It should also be noted that a ramp up in e-prescribing could have an impact on top-line pharmacy sales as more scripts reach the pharmacy counter.