More than one-third of U.S. prescriptions now are electronic, according to a new report from electronic prescribing network Surescripts, the AP/Washington Post reports.
The report found that by the end of 2011, 36% of all prescriptions in the U.S. were electronic, up from 22% in the previous year (AP/Washington Post, 5/17). The number of electronic prescriptions issued increased from 326 million in 2010 to 570 million in 2011.
According to the report, 58% of office-based physicians were e-prescribing by the end of 2011. At that time, the report found that:
- 55% of physician practices with six to 10 physicians were e-prescribing;
- 53% of practices with two to five physicians were e-prescribing; and
- 46% of solo practitioners were e-prescribing.
Of the physicians who started e-prescribing in 2008, up to 60% have met the Stage 1 meaningful use requirement for e-prescribing and about 38% would meet the proposed Stage 2 e-prescribing requirement if it were in effect, according to Surescripts (McCann, Healthcare IT News, 5/17).
Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.
The report also cited a previous report -- conducted by Surescripts, pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers -- that found that the percentage of patients who picked up new prescriptions increased by about 10% after physicians adopted e-prescribing technology (AP/Washington Post, 5/17).