The administration of drug benefits has always been far ahead of other health care areas in the use of information technology. With the introduction of electronic drug prescribing, that use has been expanded yet further. SureScripts is responsible for most of the transmission and benefit checking in electronic prescribing and puts out an annual report on its status. (SureScripts Report) According to the current report 58% of office-based physicians now use e-prescribing on the company’s network, up from only 10% three years ago. Since CMS has established a separate e-prescribing incentive program, this means that many physicians are well-prepared for meeting the requirements of those incentives, around 50% of its early adopters meet the standards, SureScripts says. About 36% of all prescriptions were routed electronically, or around 570 million, up 75% in one year.
Interestingly, smaller practices had the highest growth in adoption, although large practices continue to have the highest overall use. Internists, family practice doctors and cardiologists all had use rates of over 75% to lead types of doctors. In addition to actual prescription routing, use of the system to check benefit and formulary data and the patient’s medication history also increased rapidly. Almost 80% of doctors do their e-prescribing through an EHR system. SureScripts also discussed results of a study in which it claims to have found that doctors using e-prescribing had a 10% greater first fill adherence rate, which they said could produce $10-20 billion in health care savings, largely through avoidance of other health care services.