NewsFlash – 06/04/2010

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In this episode, Dawn DiPaola discusses recent e-prescribing news and initiatives.  e-Prescribing reduces medical errors compared to handwritten prescritions.  Many studies have been proving this is true.  As a result, several insurance companies are working to include e-prescribing pilot programs.

Category: NewsFlash
Date: June 4, 2010
Views:4,508 views

Hello, I’m Dawn DiPaola, and today I will be discussing recent e-Prescribing news and initiatives. E-prescribing is included in meaningful use criteria, and e-prescribing is a major focus as EHR adoption increases and more hospitals and physicians seek federal incentive payments.

New research supports the benefits of e-Prescribing. A recent study by Weill Cornell Medical College found providers using e-prescribing were 7 times less likely to make errors compared to those writing prescriptions by hand. Dr. Rainu Kaushal, the study's lead author and associate professor of pediatrics, medicine and public health, and chief of the Division of Quality and Medical Informatics at Weill Cornell Medical College stated: "We found nearly two in five handwritten prescriptions in these community practices had errors."

In total, the authors reviewed 3,684 paper-based prescriptions at the start of the study and 3,848 paper-based and electronic prescriptions written one year later. After one year, the percentage of errors dropped from 42.5 percent to 6.6 percent for the providers using the electronic system. For those writing prescriptions by hand, the percentage of errors increased slightly from 37.3 percent to 38.4 percent. Illegibility problems were completely eliminated by e-prescribing.

With such evidence, insurance companies are looking towards e-Prescribing to increase efficiency and decrease costs associated with drug errors. Independence Blue Cross, the leading health insurer in Southeastern Pennsylvania, is launching an e-Prescribing pilot program. The program will provide handheld electronic prescribing technology to physicians in parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The 12-month e-Prescribing pilot program will be launched with ZixCorp and AllScripts. Approximately 500 physicians will participate in the pilot, with over $1 million invested to deploy the e-Prescribing technology to these physicians.

Physicians who participate in the pilot program will be provided handheld computers, software and training so they can fill and refill prescriptions electronically. Each doctor will be able to use a PDA to view a patient’s drug history, get information about each patient’s insurer’s list of preferred drugs, find out about prescription benefits, and read a state-of-the-art drug guide. Doctors will also be able to check for drug interactions and allergies with the PDA. If successful, the pilot program may be extended to more physicians in the future.

The evidence to support e-Prescribing is growing, and with the meaningful use requirements, I’m certain we will be hearing much more about successful e-Prescribing programs.

I’m Dawn DiPaola, and this is EHRtv NewsFlash. Thanks for watching.

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