E-Prescribing: Good or Bad News?


E-prescribing is growing rapidly and has been adopted most readily by small physician practices. What does the trend mean for pharmacists?

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:

  • “More than One in Two Office-based Physicians E-Prescribed in 2011, Up From One in Ten in 2009.”
  • “70 Million Prescriptions Were Routed Electronically.”
  • “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!

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