Associations Support IOM Recommendations

Published Online: Sunday, October 1, 2006

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association both share the Institute of Medicine's (IOM's) goal of improving patient safety and decreasing medication errors. The IOM's recent report "Preventing Medication Errors" recommended setting a national agenda with strategies to reduce medication errors in a range of health care settings.

The associations, which founded SureScripts, highlighted 2 technology-related recommendations. The first is the IOM's goal for electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) to be in place nationwide by 2010. Currently, >90% of the nation's pharmacies are certified to receive prescriptions electronically, and prescription information is exchanged between physicians and pharmacists in this manner in 47 states. The work of SureScripts confirms that adoption of e-prescribing is an effective strategy to reduce drug errors and that transmitting 80% of the US prescriptions electronically can be achieved by converting the 30% of physicians who write them.

The second recommendation is providing physicians with all medication information on their patients so they can have a single comprehensive view of a patient's medication history. The medication history service is enabled by SureScripts' ability to connect to the nation's community pharmacies, regardless of name or location, and present the information to physicians through software that has been certified to connect to the SureScripts e-prescribing network.

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