Most U.S. physicians have not yet adopted electronic prescribing, which HHS estimates could save $27 billion in health care costs nationwide by reducing adverse drug interactions and increasing efficiency, the Associated Press reports.
E-prescribing now is legal in 49 states after recent updates to state laws and regulations, and Alaska soon will allow it, according to Kevin Hutchinson, president and CEO of SureScripts.
Allscripts and Dell earlier this year formed a coalition, called the National ePrescribing Patient Safety Initiative, to provide $100 million in no-cost, Web-based e-prescribing technology to every physician nationwide. The coalition has not provided statistics, but Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman said the initiative is "making great progress" and has given e-prescribing technology to thousands of physicians.
Tullman in September expects "a very strong, very high-visibility" increase in its efforts, with large employers, managed care companies and other institutions to join the coalition. He added that he expects state governments to mandate e-prescribing, the Associated Press reports.
HHS in a recent report to Congress cited expert predictions that e-prescribing could prevent more than two million drug errors annually. However, five government-funded e-prescribing pilot projects did not find such an effect on patient safety. The report noted the role of office staff members in handling e-prescribing tasks and said that the pilot projects did not establish the effect of e-prescribing on patient safety (Wisenberg Brin, Associated Press, 6/20).