Washington, DC, has taken a major step in the electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) initiative. A Washington-based physician sent the first electronic prescription to a local Rite Aid pharmacy on January 17, according to SureScripts, operators of the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange.
The transmission followed the adoption in December 2006 by the Washington, DC, Board of Pharmacy of new rules making e-prescribing legal. The transmission also came on the heels of a new initiative by health plan payers, physician groups, and technology vendors to extend free e-prescribing to every physician in the United States.
Phil Keough, senior vice president of pharmacy operations for Rite Aid, favors e-prescribing. "Utilizing e-prescribing is a huge benefit for our patients, our pharmacists, and our physician partners. E-prescribing improves accuracy, eliminates unnecessary phone calls and faxes to physicians, and, most importantly, allows our pharmacists to spend more time counseling their patients, answering their questions, and ensuring their compliance with medication therapy."
SureScripts predicts that e-prescribing will be legal and live throughout the country during the first half of this year. The group is working closely with community pharmacies throughout Washington, DC, to immediately activate previously certified computer systems for e-prescribing. SureScripts has certified the software solutions being used by >95% of the nation's retail pharmacies. A majority of the Washington, DC, area's 113 retail pharmacies can now begin e-prescribing.