Surescripts Report: E-Prescriptions Grow Increasingly Common

Eileen Oldfield, Associate Editor
Published Online: Tuesday, May 8, 2012
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Physicians dramatically increased their rate of filing prescriptions online in 2011, a report suggests.

More physicians are issuing prescriptions electronically, according to the Surescripts National Progress Report for 2011, released on May 3, 2012.
 
In 2011, 317,000 office-based physicians used e-prescribing software to issue medication notes, according to the report. The report estimates that 570 million prescriptions were sent to pharmacies electronically in 2011, an increase of 75% over the 362 million e-prescriptions in 2010.
 
In addition, filing prescriptions over the Internet has increased in the past 3 years, the report noted: In 2008, 1 in 10 office-based physicians filed prescriptions over the Internet. By the end of 2011, the practice had been taken up by 1 in 2 office-based physicians.
 
Data in the report show that prescribers who used electronic health records integrated with their e-prescribing software used the software more often than those using standalone e-prescribing systems. Internists, family practice physicians, and cardiovascular disease specialists represented some of the biggest shifts to e-prescribing, with their practices seeing, respectively, 80%, 59%, and 55% increases in the practice, according to the report.
 
A comparison of electronic, paper, phoned, and faxed prescriptions performed in conjunction with pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers showed a 10% increase in first-fill medication adherence when physicians used e-prescriptions. Prior to e-prescribing, 69.5 prescriptions per 100 filed were picked up. With e-prescribing, 76.5 prescriptions per 100 filed were picked up.
 
The improvement in medication adherence could lead to billions of dollars in health care costs savings in the coming years, the report noted.
 
To download a pdf of the report's executive summary, click here.

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