Electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) bythe nation?s physicians figures to get asignificant boost as a result of a new federalinitiative encouraging doctors toreduce paperwork in their practices.
The program involves recruiting some1200 doctors throughout the country toshift from paper to electronic records.Physicians participating in the programwill receive extra payments from Medicarefor ordering prescriptions online andperforming other activities electronically.Only about 10% of the nation?s doctorscurrently engage in e-prescribing, and thecost of converting to an online system isconsidered a key stumbling block towider participation.
Physicians who participate in the newprogram will receive several thousand dollarsa year in additional Medicare reimbursement,accordingto officials at the Departmentof Health andHuman Services. Significantly,however, a numberof health care andconsumer groups are losing patience withthe pace of government efforts to stimulatee-prescribing.
In a letter to congressional leaders, abroad-based coalition of drug chains, consumergroups, labor organizations, andpharmacy benefit managers called fornew federal rules requiring that e-prescribingbe used for all Part D Medicareprescriptions. According to the coalition,such a step could prevent 1.9 millionadverse drug events over the next 10years and save billions of dollars forpatients and taxpayers.