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The Reinvented Pharmacist

E-Prescribing: Good or Bad News?

Thursday, June 14th, 2012
The greatest use and fastest growth in e-prescribing has been among small physician practices, according to a recent Surescripts report. Practices with 6 to 10 doctors demonstrate the highest e-prescribing adoption rate at 55%, while 27% of practices with 100-plus physicians have embraced e-prescribing. This finding, reported by American Medical News on May 28, 2012, is one of many in the recently released 2011 “National Progress Report on e-Prescribing and Interoperable Health Care.” Here are 3 other findings revealed in the report:
  1.  “More than One in Two Office-based Physicians E-Prescribed in 2011, Up From One in Ten in 2009.”
  2. “70 Million Prescriptions Were Routed Electronically.”
  3. “E-Prescribing is Helping to Improve First Fill Medication Adherence. Savings Are Estimated Up to $240 Billion Over 10 Years.”
Reflecting on these results, I wondered, if the e-prescribing adoption rate continues to escalate, how will it impact the need for pharmacists in the future—assuming that technology will make filling and refilling prescriptions easier? What do you think?
I also wonder what it was about e-prescribing that improved first-fill pickup rates? Is this really improvement in adherence or just improvement in picking up the prescription after it has been filled? It’s a worthwhile discussion to have within our profession. Your comments are encouraged!
Blog Info
Fred Eckel, RPh, MS, Editor-in-Chief of Pharmacy Times
Blog Description
This blog focuses on what our Editor-in-Chief sees as the future of pharmacy.
Author Bio
Fred Eckel, RPh, MS, is the Editor-in-Chief of Pharmacy Times, a position he has held since 2002. Mr. Eckel is a professor at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He serves as executive director of the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists.

In this blog, Eckel will provide commentary on relevant issues impacting pharmacists and pharmacy professionals, including the merging of pharmacy benefit managers, the implications of health care reform, the conversion of major drugs from prescription to over-the-counter, trends in pharmacy careers, and opioid abuse. He will also discuss legislative issues that impact pharmacists, and comment on the evolving role of the pharmacist.
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